Known for its rich heritage, Limerick is filled with natural beauty, a great cultural tradition and some compelling national attractions.
Limerick has always had an active music scene, which has produced bands such as The Cranberries, guitarist Noel Hogan’s’ MonoBand, The Hitchers and many more. World-renowned electronic musician Richard D. James, more commonly known as Aphex Twin, was born in Limerick in 1971.
The city is the setting for Frank McCourt’s best-selling memoir Angela’s Ashes and its film adaptation. It was also used for the contemporary coming-of-age drama Cowboys & Angels and Robert Cunningham’s Somebody’s Daughter, which was shot in various locations around the city and had its premiere in King John’s Castle in July 2004.
The Limerick Art Gallery and the Art College cater for painting, sculpture and performance art of all styles. The Irish Chamber Orchestra and the Irish World Music Centre are both based in the University of Limerick. The University has a thousand-seat state-of-the-art concert hall that frequently hosts visiting performers. Limerick is also home to popular comedians D’Unbelievables (Pat Shortt & Jon Kenny), Jimmy Carr, The Rubberbandits and Karl Spain.
The Vikings founded Limerick in 922 AD. They chose the place as it was an island between the Shannon and Abbey Rivers, and there would be no problems at all in defending it. Limerick has been a witness to the endless battles of the Vikings and the Irish, and it was not until the eleventh century that Ireland finally took over the island.
In 1315, the Scots occupied Limerick while attempting to capture Ireland. However, the occupation lasted only three years. In the seventeenth century, the city survived four sieges and experienced a great deal of poverty in the nineteenth century. The county survived, and the lace-making industry was started in 1829, which later prospered.
As the third largest city in Ireland, most of Limerick’s land area is made up of rising and falling plains particularly in the east, where a part of a rich plain is formed. It is known among the locals as the Golden Vale. In the twentieth century, Limerick’s main livelihood was agriculture and food processing.
Several major attractions can be found in the county. The new Irish World Academy at the University of Limerick was officially opened by Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen, T.D. on Friday 24th September, 2010. It is a place to break new ground, to find your own voice, to rediscover older sounds and gestures or to reinvent received traditions.
The Hunt Museum in the Old Customs House is known to accommodate the finest collections of antique finds all over Europe.
Adare Village is just a few miles from Limerick City and is claimed as the prettiest village in Ireland. It was restored in the 1820s by the Earl of Dunraven, and the village itself portrays a picture of excellent masonry and thatch roofs. Another notable attraction is the Foynes Flying Boat Museum, which was once the centre of aviation and more importantly, where Irish Coffee was invented!