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- 24 Jan 2020, 3 nights
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Limerick city is famed for its arts scene – in 2014 it was the first place to be named Irish City of Culture. Whatever time of year you visit, you're likely to find a festival going on, whether it's literature, dance or sports. After you've explored the museums and art galleries, you could try one of the many traditional pubs scattered throughout the centre. Travelling solo? The locals are renowned for their friendliness. Three colleges just outside the centre give this city a youthful vibe.
Many hostels in Limerick have all en-suite rooms and put on a free breakfast (full Irish, veggie or continental) – the perfect fuel for long walks around the city. There's also a peaceful hostel in a mountain village outside the centre with a comfy living room and crackling open fire. Some Limerick hostels have a fully equipped kitchen, so you can make a packed lunch to take out, and most have free Wi-Fi –helpful for checking opening times for the top activities.
Limerick's waterfront neighbourhood is one of the areas that's been rejuvenated. Its long boardwalk is ideal for a wander alongside the River Shannon. The city centre is brimming with medieval architecture, such as the Norman-built city walls and King John's Castle. Just over half an hour's bus journey away, you'll find Adare. Full of thatched cottages (and with its own castle), it's said to be one of Ireland's most picturesque villages.
For a taste of ancient Ireland, head to Lough Gur. This lake has Ireland's largest stone circle and a heritage centre building based on 6,000-year-old Neolithic dwellings. Historic and more modern culture can be found at the Hunt Museum. There are more than 2,000 artworks here, ranging from a Bronze-Age shield to drawings by Picasso. To try out some local Limerick produce, make for the Milk Market, where you can pick up some Limerick-made chocolates or artisan jewellery as souvenirs.
Travellers flying into Shannon Airport can take a 30-minute taxi ride into the city centre, or a bus with a journey time of around 50 minutes. Coming from Dublin Heuston train station? The train journey is around two and a half hours to Limerick Railway Station. Once you've arrived, getting around Limerick is easy by foot. Alternatively you can hire a bike or use the city's bike-share scheme.