St. George’s Quay is a modern riverside location in central Limerick. It is home to various boutique and modern hotels, penthouse apartments, gastropubs with outdoor dining, funky bars and cafes. There are leafy walks and views of the River Shannon and the footbridge via Bridge Street, which leads on to further attractions like the Hunt Museum, Limerick Tourist Information Centre and Arthur’s Quay Park and Shopping Centre. It’s also where you’ll find various historical attractions and unusual buildings including Barrington’s Hospital and Lodge, the School of Art and Design, Limerick city Museum and Courthouse, and St Francis’ Abbey.
A History of Public Health in Limerick
Barringtons Hospital is the only private hospital in Limerick and has been operating for over 200 years, it is part of Limerick’s architectural heritage. It was designed and built by the distinguished Barrington family, who were active in the city at the time and wanted to create a charitable institution and general hospital and A&E to help the poor. They spent over £10,000 on the hospital - a huge amount at the time - but for financial reasons were unable to complete all of it as you can see from its Georgian facade. However, their passion, ideas and legacy lived on and the hospital was widely used during periods of crisis, such as the cholera outbreak in 1832.
Health Tourism in Limerick
In 1988 Barrington’s Hospital was threatened with closure, which caused a public outcry and over 20,000 supporters turned out to protest. Unfortunately it closed in March of that year. It was then empty for three years before being bought and turned into a small private hospital on one floor with a few staff to begin with. Over the years it has expanded to take on the other floors and is now a successful private hospital, which is highly regarded and offers day surgery and advanced healthcare practice. It has also expanded into the Barringtons’ former house, which rather brings things full circle - their family dream has been realised, although sadly not during their lifetime.
Barrington’s Hospital is now firmly involved in community life, sponsoring various events in the city like the Great Limerick Run. It now faces the challenge of combining its modern technological requirements with the upkeep of a historic Georgian building. The site is well maintained and inspiring to see for a day visit even if you aren’t seeking private healthcare treatment!
Historic Hotels in Limerick
The hotels close to Barrington’s Hospital are a mix of modern and historical styles and it’s good to walk around the different areas to get a feel for the changing architecture. Pery Square and Pery Crescent were home to many of the influential medical practitioners in Limerick and the surrounding streets are named after beneficiaries who helped the city’s sick and poor, like Lady Harstonge who founded St John’s Hospital, the Barrington family and Viscount Pery, who donated the grounds for the old County Hospital. It’s an area rich in history which is great to explore on foot and it gives you a sense of the hardship people endured during the war.
The streets surrounding Barrington’s Hospital, Barrington House and St George’s Quay are now home to several independent and boutique hotels and larger modern hotels with all the mod cons and riverside views. Many have restaurants and leisure facilities on site, but there’s no shortage of interesting places to visit on foot and plenty of bars and restaurants serving homemade Irish food.