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Limerick: the not-so-gritty metropolis is one in all Eire’s ignored gems | Limerick holidays



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A recent Atlantic breeze blows up the estuary and rustles by a thicket of younger lime timber by the Treaty Stone, the rock that witnessed the top of the Williamite battle within the autumn of 1691. Simply forward, a seven-arch limestone bridge spans the Shannon River so far as the thick barrel towers of King John’s Fortress. To the precise, Limerick Metropolis’s quays and avenues bustle with new bars, lodges and eating places. It’s a scene that contrasts starkly with the damp, smoky cityscape depicted in Frank McCourt’s e book Angela’s Ashes.

But McCourt’s 1996 Pulitzer prize-winning memoir shouldn’t be the one printed phrase out of contact with the Twenty first-century Treaty Metropolis. In 2021, the enterprise journal Forbes retracted an article that failed to satisfy its personal editorial requirements when it printed a profile piece about John and Patrick Collison, founders of economic software program firm Stripe, who grew up close to town. The article described Limerick as some form of gritty, gun-slinging frontier city. To some extent, this was comprehensible: town is commonly handled as a whipping boy for city felonies in Irish media, many years after a legal household feud had ended.

Limerick v Tipperary at LIT Gaelic Grounds in Limerick in 2019.
Limerick v Tipperary at LIT Gaelic Grounds in Limerick, June 2019. {Photograph}: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile/Getty Photos

The reality is that for a very long time, Limerick has quietly loved the identical low crime charges as cities corresponding to Cork and Galway. However, aesthetically, Limerick is fascinating. An architectural map of Irish historical past unfolds alongside what needs to be probably the most good-looking riverfront within the nation. The medieval quarter within the north of town flows on to gleaming glass buildings and rows of Georgian redbrick townhouses. Cafes have colonised the waterways that snake in all instructions, whereas the primary streets and quays make it straightforward to navigate on foot or by bike.

The previous sits comfortably right here, regardless of the very fact town seems to be in a continuing state of rejuvenation. Each Sunday, for hundreds of years, Limerick has woken to the chiming of the bells of St Mary’s Cathedral. Down a labyrinth of slim lanes underneath an enormous cover is the Milk Market, the place town has all the time congregated on Saturday morning to browse the stalls of artisan meals producers. By noon the scent of espresso is within the air, and a queue has shaped at David Jackson’s Flying Cheese Brigade stall, which sells regionally sourced natural manufacturers, corresponding to fragrant, tangy St Tola cheese, in addition to progressive worldwide varieties.

Dealing with the market is Nancy Blake’s pub, the place the proprietor, Donal Mulcahy, has curated the identical dusky nostalgic vibe the place had when it was run by his mom, Nancy. It’s like strolling right into a Nineteenth-century lantern-lit parlour, with a heat glow from the cast-iron hearth. To the rear is a brick and lean-to beer backyard, recognized by most because the Outback, the place an evening typically ends to the sound of a saxophone and a tot of tequila. A 15-minute stroll away is Dolan’s, one other late-night venue providing conventional Irish music, rock and standup comedy.


It is a metropolis that nurtures the performing arts, having given the world the Cranberries, Terry Wogan, and actors Ruth Negga and Richard Harris. Venues such because the intimate Belltable theatre on O’Connell Avenue or the Lime Tree theatre showcase offbeat productions, whereas College Live performance Corridor has the big-name leisure.

Dolan’s, a late-night music venue.
Dolan’s is a late-night music and standup venue. {Photograph}: Ronin/Alamy

However it’s sport – any sport – that basically will get underneath the pores and skin of this metropolis. Limerick GAA have dominated the nationwide sport of hurling, and are all-Eire champions. Thomond Park Stadium – dwelling of Munster Rugby, Shannon RFC and UL Bohemians RFC – and the brand new Worldwide Rugby Expertise within the metropolis centre rise like colossi over the encompassing structure.

At night time, the selection of pubs can typically rely upon crew affiliation – Shannon RFC supporters collect on the metropolis’s premier sports activities and whiskey institution, Jerry Flannery’s Bar, which is owned by the previous Irish worldwide rugby participant. On a busy sidestreet a number of blocks away one other bastion of rugby, Myles Breen’s Bar, has served ale from its mahogany counter for greater than two centuries. Subsequent door, the outdated Stella Bingo corridor is the place, in response to a inexperienced plaque on its facade, Eire’s largest rock export first performed as a four-piece band underneath the title U2.

To get a flavour of the area’s delicacies, Derek Fitzpatrick’s East Room, in a white Palladian mansion subsequent to the college, presents a tasting menu with greens and herbs foraged regionally and wild sport or halibut, scallops and crab.

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