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Limerick's name comes from the Irish word luimneach. There are a number of possible translations, one being “grassless field of the horses” and “the flat area”. It is the latter definition that characterises a large part of the terrain — a limestone plain, some of which is rolling pastureland, as the area is famed for its dairy farming. The plain is encircled by mountains, the Slieve Felims, Galtees and the Ballyhouras.
Limerick City is a great place to immerse yourself in history, with St John's Castle and two cathedrals, one with the tallest spire in the country, at an impressive 280 feet. At the museum you can delve into Limerick County's intriguing past, or, 40 minutes away by road, there is the Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum for a glimpse into a fascinating side of Second World War aviation, part of which you can view on screen in the original 1940s cinema.
Travelling south from Limerick to Lough Gur, you will find an extraordinary Neolithic archaeological site with an informative visitors' centre.
If you are keen on outdoor activities, you could head off to Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Trails, one of which is a demanding 35 miles in length, but there are gentle options too. There is a beautiful arboretum and nature trail at the Curraghchase Forest Park. Limerick County has a number of golf courses, or if you fancy an adrenalin rush, you could go powerboating on the Shannon, or paintballing at Shanagolden.
There is something for everyone in County Limerick, from a 5 star luxury castle with golf resort to small, family-run hotels, guesthouses and B&B accommodation. For self-catering, there is also a vast range — how about a mountain lodge, a 100-year-old cottage or a restored 18th century farmhouse?
For eating out, the choice is yours, with nearly 200 restaurants listed in Limerick City alone — everything from fine dining with locally sourced ingredients to fast food from all over the world. Away from the city, again, the range is enormous, with country inns serving good old Irish fare washed down with a pint of stout, to country hotels with menus to attract gastronomes from all over the country.
The county is served by Shannon Airport, which is only half an hour away from Limerick City by road. Dublin is about two and a half hours away via the M7 and Cork is around 90 minutes away, using the N20. If you are travelling to the Republic of Ireland by ferry to Rosslare, the drive is three hours.
This family-friendly Limerick hotel is located on the riverwalk, within a 10-minute walk of King John's Castle and Hunt Museum. Thomond Park and Bunratty Castle and Folk Park are also within 12 mi (20 km).
Located in Limerick City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of O'Connell Street and St. Mary's Cathedral. King John's Castle and The Treaty Stone are also within 15 minutes.
Located in Limerick City Centre, this hotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of People's Park, St. Mary's Cathedral and The Treaty Stone. King John's Castle is 0.9 mi (1.5 km) away.
This family-friendly Limerick hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Roxboro Shopping Centre, People's Park and Limerick City Gallery of Art. St. Mary's Cathedral and King John's Castle are also within 3 miles (5 km).
This family-friendly Limerick hotel is located near the airport, within a 10-minute walk of Arthur's Quay Park and The Treaty Stone. King John's Castle and St. Mary's Cathedral are also within 15 minutes.
Located in Limerick City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of O'Connell Street and St. Mary's Cathedral. The Treaty Stone and King John's Castle are also within 15 minutes.
Located in Limerick City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Arthur's Quay Park, The Treaty Stone and St. Mary's Cathedral. King John's Castle is 0.6 mi (1 km) away.
Located in Limerick City Centre, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Tait's Clock and St. Mary's Cathedral. King John's Castle and The Treaty Stone are also within 1 mile (2 km).