Just outside Limerick City you’ll find rural accommodation around key attractions, from B&Bs and cosy guesthouses, to log cabins and three, four and even five star luxury hotels with golf courses and spas on-site. Choosing a hotel out of town gives you access to a different kind of holiday - nature breaks, golfing holidays and sporting holidays, and the chance to savour a slower pace of life in heritage villages like Adare with its thatched cottages and monastic sites. Luxury hotels aren’t just provenance of the city - you’ll find them in Bunratty, Adare, Ballycasey, Dromoland and Foynes, which was the birthplace of Irish coffee and is home to the Foynes Flying Boat Museum. Whether you stay locally or do a day trip from Limerick, the boat museum is a must-see.
Maritime History in Foynes and Limerick
Foynes Aviation and Maritime Museum is a charity based in the village of Foynes, a 40-minute scenic ride (22 miles) from Limerick city. Its aim is to preserve and tell the story of aviation and passenger travel across the north Atlantic, the history of maritime trading along the River Shannon and how it all connects to the port of Foynes. You can watch a video about the history of the flying boats, see interactive exhibits and displays and a replica B314 flying boat as seen in the 1930s. There’s also a replica of the airport terminal and waiting room as it would have looked in the 1940s when visitors such as John F. Kennedy and Eleanor Roosevelt came to town.
It is fascinating to see what part the small village of Foynes played in aviation history and adds to the locals’ sense of pride in the area; hence it’s a popular little museum with an interesting story to tell.
Heritage Holidays in Foynes
Birthplace of Irish coffee (that’s another story), Foynes is a small village along the scenic N69 route from Limerick city. If you continue driving west past the village you can see how the maritime route runs on with views of the Shannon. Foynes has a pretty wood called Coillte Wood - over 17 acres along the river bank which used to be part of the 6,500-acre Monteagle Estate. You can still see the remains of the estate with paths, limestone walls, and the so-called Lady’s Gate towards the east of the property. Foynes is ideal for walking - it has great views, lots of wildlife and many species of trees. There’s also an active seaport with cargoes coming and going throughout the day.
Educational Breaks in Limerick
The Flying Boat Museum is a fantastic attraction for children and will keep them amused all afternoon. There are replica boats and flying simulators to cockpit. The museum shows how important the Shannon has been for maritime trade, the growth of the quay areas in Limerick and the key families who played a role in shaping its history. There are academic research papers, nautical objects and learning and outreach programmes linked to local schools and educational organisations. It’s also a hub in Foynes for other community activities.
There are many three to five star hotels and charming guesthouses to choose from for an intimate, relaxed stay in Foynes, Bunratty, Adare or further out in Limerick city. The museum is in a scenic rural location with good access from the city centre so makes an inspiring day trip or weekend break destination if you want to further your knowledge of the county’s maritime history.