Limerick city is working hard to change its image. The third largest city in Ireland was founded by the Vikings, due to its strategic point on the picturesque River Shannon.
There are plenty of museums, cathedrals and churches to keep the visitor busy, and there are a staggering amount of festivals throughout the year when you visit Limerick. These include ev+a, the visual arts exhibition, Blas (music and dance), Shannon International music festival, summer music on the Shannon and the poetry festival, Cuisle.
The city has been given a boost of life since the University opened and has since enjoyed a new image as a bustling commercial city. Even so there is plenty of charm in the cities three historic districts. Kings Island was the first area to be settled by the Vikings encompassing King John castle and St Marys Cathedral. The old Irishtown has historic architecture in abundance and includes St Johnís cathedral, which has the tallest spire in the country (280ft), and Newtown Pery, a grid of Georgian terraces, possibly the most charming of the districts.
Visit Limerick and include Lough Gur, 20 kilometres south of the city. Here lie dozens of prehistoric monuments dating from 3000BC, and includes the finest stone circle in the country, and Adare, billed as Irelands prettiest village, regularly draws in coach loads of visitors from far and wide.
If you Visit Limerick outside of the county lies County Clare, which has enjoyed a far better reputation mainly due to its vibrant musical traditions. The county town of Ennis is renowned for its painted shop fronts and folk music festivals.
The Cliffs of Moher are breathtaking, rising 200 metres and stretching for five kilometres. There are some beautiful coastal walks around this area and well worth a look.
The small fishing village of Dooling is awash with tourists throughout the year thanks to musician Micho Russell, who put this village on the map. Tourists now come to visit the pubs and indulge in the traditional music. Dooling is said to have more accommodation per square metre than anywhere else in Ireland, so stumbling back after an eveningís entertainment should not be problematic.
Visit Limerick and go west to The Burren meaning rocky land in Gaelic. Here there is a unique botanical environment in which alpine and Mediterranean plants rare to the country thrive. From May to August the place is awash with colour from an array of flowers.
Spanish Point on the West coast is a popular summer destination for tourists and equally popular with surfers. The name refers to the sinking of ships from the Spanish Armada off this coast.
Kilrush, 40 kilometres from Ennis has an attractive new marina and walking trails for visitors to enjoy. From here you can enjoy dolphin spotting trips or a trip to Scattery Island, the site of a medieval monastery, a multitude of ruins and one of the tallest round towers in the country.