Ireland day 0884. Thursday 29 February 2024- Limerick *

Ireland day 0884. Thursday 29 February 2024- Limerick
Today’s summary A long-ish (220km) drive for a day trip looking round Limerick city today.  Saw the three principal sights – St Mary’s cathedral, King John’s Castle and the Hunt Museum.   All very interesting in their own ways.   And the River Shannon was impressive for its size and rapid flow.   Even an unexpected snow shower mid afternoon didn’t put a dampener on the day.
Today’s weather Squally showers, some with snow, and a little sun.   Moderate south westerly wind.   Appx 6c
Today’s overview location
(The grey mark shows the location of our route)
Close-up location
(The orange line shows where we walked)
(Click button below to download GPX of today’s walk as recorded, or see interactive map at bottom with elevations corrected):

(Summary blog only.   Last full blog was Day 0368).

Well now there are only four.   Unvisited counties in the island of Ireland, that is (Roscommon, Tyrone, Fermanagh and Leitrim).   Today, on the strength of a good weather forecast which turned out to be more or less completely wrong, we decided to visit Limerick city, so we could cross the eponymous county off our list.   Of course, that wasn’t our only – or even our main – reason for visiting.   We’d read and heard quite a lot about the city of Limerick, and wanted to see what it had to offer.

Actually, as it turned out, it had quite a lot to offer.   Aside from the River Shannon, which is massive (and I think tidal) and which dominates the town with its branching flow round the King’s Island, there is plenty to see.   But with the long (220 km) drive from Malahide, we didn’t arrive until around noon, so we didn’t have very long to see everything.   So we focused on the highlights.

Our first port of call was St Mary’s Cathedral – it’s a beautiful building and one of the finest Mediaeval churches in Ireland (I think).   It was built around the year 1168, making it some 856 years old.   It’s peaceful inside and the soothing choral music playing in the background emphasises the tranquillity.

From there, we headed on to the castle where we decided first top have lunch in the slightly idiosyncratic café.   We timed this well, as whilst we were dining, the heavens opened and it poured rain at first, which turned to sleet and eventually snow as the deluge proceeded.   Eventually, it dried up and we finished our lunch so we headed to the castle itself to have a look around.

King John had the castle built around 1200 on the site of a Viking settlement and today it’s one of the best preserved Norman castles in Europe.   There is an interesting exhibition which would really merit a whole day studying it, as it is jam-packed with interesting information.    I learned for example that the Normans who arrived in Ireland in the 1100s came (unsurprisingly) from Normandy in France, via England following the Norman Conquest in 1066.   But what was particularly interesting I thought is that the Normans were actually descendants of Vikings who took possession of a corner of France which nowadays is known as Normandy but historically was known as “northland” – after the Scandinavian homelands of the invading settlers.   So in a way, the Vikings colonised Ireland twice.

Whilst I was having a soaking wet look round the walls of the castle as the next in a series of downpours struck us, Val wisely stayed under cover of a shelter next to the museum buildings.  Bizarrely she came across a man playing a harp in the shelter, so she had an impromptu lesson.  Funny how things work out.

Our final visit was to the Hunt Museum – which is housed in the old Customs House – another fascinating building  with no doubt a fascinating history.   The collection of objects on display was accumulated by archaeologist and antique dealer John Hunt, who was born in Middlesex England but who moved to Ireland during the second world war.   He left the collection to the State just before he died, but the State didn’t seem to want it so a private museum – now the Hunt Museum – was established to house it.

The collection itself is fascinating, if somewhat eclectic.   Though the objets d’art are perhaps a little less interesting than the building which houses them.   Anyway, once we’d had a good look round (and visited the café for a cup of tea). we made our way back to the multi storey car park to be reunited with the Trusty Yaris, then we pottered off back to Dublin.   Actually the 220 km drive seemed to take no time at all and it gave us a good opportunity to catch up on some podcasts.

Once back in the flat, we finished off the day with well-deserved fish and chips from Beshoff’s, and filled in one more piece in our jigsaw of Ireland.


Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

St Mary’s Cathedral.   Incredibly, it is over 800 years old Rain sleet and snow were the unexpected guests at lunch today
The Shannon and Thomond Bridge from the castle curtain wall Inside the castle keep.   Val had harp lessons (yes really) while I checked out the battlements
The Hunt Museum Inside one of the Museum’s many fascinating galleries
The beautiful and peaceful sanctuary of St Mary’s Cathedral
Interactive map

(Elevations corrected at  GPS Visualizer: Assign DEM elevation data to coordinates )

Total distance: 7821 m
Max elevation: 12 m
Min elevation: 1 m
Total climbing: 109 m
Total descent: -110 m
Total time: 04:37:01
Download file: Limerick-compressed-corrected.gpx

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