Limerick city centre is where you’ll find most of the main cultural attractions including the Hunt Museum, Lime Tree Theatre and Limerick City Gallery of Art, a contemporary Irish gallery and museum which is run by the city council. On the same street you’ll find a spa townhouse hotel and there are several boutique hotels, three to five star rated, in the surrounding streets. Staying in the centre of Limerick means you’re well placed to walk to all the main attractions, you can shop until you drop in O’Connell Street and the Milk Market and enjoy a siesta before you go out again for dinner, drinks and night-time entertainment.
Cultural Breaks in Limerick City
Limerick City Gallery of Art is the largest contemporary art gallery in mid-west Ireland and located in a Romanesque Carnegie building in Pery Square, the city’s pretty Georgian Quarter. The building was constructed in 1906 and was originally a museum and Carnegie library funded by Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), before being taken over in 1936 by a group of prominent Limerick people and expanded to become the museum you see today. In 1985, it took over the entire Carnegie building and now hosts a permanent collection of over 831 local and international works from the 18th to 21st century, as well as the National Collection of Contemporary Drawing and the Michael O’Connor International Poster Collection.
Modern Art in Limerick City
The gallery has recently undergone a makeover with a new glass-walled sculpture gallery that overlooks People’s Park and a social space and cafe called Zest to encourage conversations around art. It is a beautiful gallery of architectural and social importance with a strong emphasis on education, talks and workshops throughout the year. Open daily, it’s also free to enter as it is funded by the city council and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. It has ever-changing exhibitions with work by artists including Sean Keating, Paul Henry, Sir William Orpen, John Shinnors, Jack Yeats and Grace Henry.
Arts Festivals in Limerick City
Every two years the gallery hosts a biennial called EV+A (Exhibition of Visual Arts) which involves selected local artists who exhibit their work around the gallery and city centre. The aim is to educate and share art among the people and it programmes an educational range of events for all of the family to complement the main exhibitions each season. It’s an exciting time for the city and gives locals a chance to express themselves as people of “a vivid imagination”, as Sean Keating famously described them. EV+A is a popular event on the cultural calendar so it’s worth planning your accommodation well in advance if you plan to see it.
There is a good choice of boutique, three to five star hotels and Georgian townhouse style accommodation in and around Pery Square and the Georgian Quarter. From there you can explore the various art galleries, museums, churches, theatres and parks and shop for something unusual in the independent boutiques off O’Connell Street.