This Year’s Holiday Destination… Limerick

Christmas Lighting, originally uploaded by derhur.

The city of Limerick is positioning itself as Ireland’s winter holiday destination. The place best known as the often grim setting of Frank McCourt’s “Angela’s Ashes” has come a long way since the late author’s boyhood days. In fact, I’ve found Limerick’s city centre constantly improving… significantly more pedestrian-friendly and more and more fine shops and cafe’s.

Among the highlights… Ireland’s largest Christmas Tree! The lights get switched on by Olympic boxer Andy Lee on Friday, November 20. Although it’s not a “real” tree, it certainly is “green.” The 100 foot tall display is made of recycled steel from two local building projects, and it’s 4,000 lights use 70% less energy than standard holiday lights.

The Winterfest celebrations run the entire weekend of November 20-22 with a special Georgian Quarter Christmas market running over the weekend.

More Info:

Heading to Limerick, but can’t make it that weekend?

The tree will, of course, be present for the entire holiday season, and the city’s regular markets on Saturday and Sunday will be on through Christmas.

Our Tips for Limerick

  • Traffic can be heavy at peak times, so drivers should plan ahead and look for parking near Arthur’s Quay (pronounced “Key”) or off O’Connell Street to stay close to the action or consider Bus and Train travel.
  • Those arriving specifically for Winterfest should consider a stay in City Centre (a few recommendations from Pat Preston’s include the Absolute Hotel, Clarion Hotel Limerick, The George Hotel, Jurys Inn and Savoy Hotel – visit her site to read her reviews).
  • Those looking to stay out of town might enjoy the villages of Adare, Bunratty, Ennis, Foynes or Killaloe.
  • Favorite Limerick sites: Hunt Museum, King John’s Castle and archaeological site, Limerick City Gallery of Art, Shopping O’Connell & Thomas Streets, the city’s various churches,
  • Favorite nearby sites: Adare village, Askeaton Friary, Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, Cliffs of Moher, Ennis heritage town, Foynes Flying Boat Museum, Sunday Mass at Glenstal Abbey in Moroe, Lough Gur, Quin Abbey.

I should mention that ALL Irish towns will have something going on for the holiday season… I’ll be doing much of my Christmas shopping off the tourist trail in the village of Nenagh, County Tipperary. In addition to Limerick and Nenagh, visitors looking for “shopping towns” should consider Galway, Kilkenny, Cork, Killarney, Belfast and Dublin (not all on one trip, of course).

Author: Liam

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  1. We reside in Ireland, but must admit that Limerick would be near the one place we would not tell travelers to take the time to go to. So many places better than this dirty town, and although I concur with some of the improvements over the past decade, there is still little reason to battle the gridlock. And is there really a more overpriced, yet drab place to go in the country than King John’s Castle and archaeological site? Can’t believe people pay to go through that place.

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  2. Wow….Christmas in Ireland. Always had a goal to be in Ireland for Halloween but now I want to do Christmas..well now I will have two times of years to be there!!!! *GRIN* Limerick isn’t a place I went to last time I was there but near enough, will have to drive through and see the improvements. Interesting the above comments that locals have such strong opinions. Personally I felt that way about Dublin and couldn’t wait to get out of there.

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  3. I am an American living in Co. Limerick and Limerick City really doesn’t deserve the bad rap it’s been given. I know it’s hard to change public opinion once a particular viewpoint has been established, but from firsthand experience living in the area I believe there are so many positives about the city that cannot be overlooked. Foremost, it’s undeniable spirit and effort to recreate itself! The Milk Market on a Saturday morning, Limerick City Gallery of Art, The Hunt Museum, a Munster rugby match in the new Thomond stadium….and much more. Take a chance and stop by!

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  4. Perhaps too strong, as there are indeed things of note, but it still is an area that needs to continue to improve its offering. I agree that improvements have been made, but still much to be done to focus it as a desired city for most to want to see. Most only pass through on their way to somewhere because of some of the issues still that need to be sorted out. Just my opinion, and I do really enjoy this site. You lads do a grand job with it.

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  5. I cant believe somebody would say that about Limerick. I agree there is always room to improve in Limerick, as does any other town or city (Limerick city, not town) anywhere. Maybe you should take time out of your little to visit our city and see how much it has changed and what it has to offer.

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