This Year’s Holiday Destination… Limerick
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.
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 www.irelandexpert.com 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).