A visit to Lough Gur is one of the most overlooked things to do in Limerick.
Tucked away in the stunning Ballyhoura region, Lough Gur is home to a wealth of history and lots of walking trails.
Below, you’ll get an insight into the area along with things to see and do while you’re there.
Some quick need-to-knows about Lough Gur
Although a visit to Lough Gur in County Limerick is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
You’ll find Lough Gur a stone’s throw from the the towns of Herbertstown and Bruff. It’s a 30-minute drive from both Adare and Limerick City and a 35-minute drive from Tipperary Town.
2. Opening hours
So, as far as we can tell, the car park at Lough Gur is open 24/7 (note: we’re not 100% sure of this). The Lough Gur visitor centre has set opening hours:
- From June to August: Mon to Fri 10am – 6pm. Sat and Sun from 10am – 8pm
- October to February: Mon to Fri 10.00am to 4pm. Sat and Sun 10am – 4pm
Access to Lough Gur lake is completely free of charge, however, you have to pay a fee if you want to explore the Heritage Centre. Adult tickets are €5, student/senior tickets are €4 and kids tickets are €3.
Lough Gur is steeped in history and boats 136 monuments. The best way to get an insight into the area is by booking onto of the many guided tours available at the Heritage Centre. More info below.
A speedy history of Lough Gur
Lough Gur in Limerick is one of the most important prehistoric sites in Ireland – which is no mean feat, considering the island is home to the likes of Newgrange.
People have inhabited the area around Loug Gur since around 3,000 BC and you’ll discover many ancient megalithic remains as your walk around its perimeter.
The most notable of these ancient sites is Grange Stone Circle – the largest of its kind in Ireland. It’s in excess of 4m in height and is believed to weigh over 40 tonnes.
There are also numerous crannogs, the remains of dwellings that date back to the Stone Age, a hill fort, several ring forts and a castle (Bourchier’s Castle) not far from the entrance to the main car park.
Things to do at Lough Gur
One of the reasons that a visit to Lough Gur is one of the more popular things to do in Limerick is due to the volume of things there are to see and do.
Below, you’ll find info on walks, the fairy trail, the tour and more. Dive on in!
1. Step back in time at the Heritage Centre
inside the Heritage Centre you’ll find an interactive exhibition that will take you back to the Mesolithic Era when the first humans arrived in the area.
The exhibition includes a display of artefacts, interactive displays, archeological dig models and Neolithic reconstruction models which immerse you in the story of Lough Gur.
2. Then explore on foot
Lough Gur is home to some of our favourite walks in Limerick. Follow the magical Lough Gur i-Trail while listening to an audio guide that tells you the history of the area and the mythology attached to it.
This trail is 2.5 km (1.5 miles) in length and includes a short climb to the top of a little hill where you’ll be able to get a great view of the lake.
On the way, you will explore early Christian dwellings and the remains of a 1,000-year-old farming settlement.
3. See Grange Stone Circle (the largest in Ireland)
Grange Stone Circle is one of Lough’s biggest draws for history lovers. At over 4m in height and 150 feet in diameter, it’s Ireland’s largest, and it’s well worth checking out.
It’s believed that the entire circle weighs over 40 tonnes. This is thanks to its 13 standing stones, the largest of which is in excess of 13 feet in height.
4. Take the kids on the fairy trail
If you’re visiting Lough Gur with kids in tow, make sure to swing by the fairy trail. Legend has it that the King of the Fairies, Fer Fí, lives on the nearby hill of Konockadoon.
In fact, you’ll even find his throne at the entrance to the Heritage Centre. Along the trai you’ll stumble upon a minature castle, lush woodland and breath-taking landscapes.
Things to do near Lough Gur
One of the beauties of Lough Gur is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best places to visit in Limerick.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Lough Gur (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. Post-walk lunch in Adare (30-minute drive)
If you fancy a feed, take the short spin out to Adare. While there’s plenty of things to do in Adare, it’s the food scene we’re after here! See our Adare restaurants guide for the pick of the bunch.
2. Glenstal Woods (30-minute drive)
Glenstal Woods is a national forest located close to Glenstal Abbey. It’s home to several walking trails with something to suit most levels of fitness.
3. Limerick City (30-minute drive)
Limerick City is well worth exploring. There’s King John’s Castle, the Milk Market, museums, cathedrals and much more (there’s some great pubs in Limerick, too!).
FAQs about Lough Gur in Limerick
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What’s parking like?’ to ‘Is the coffee van still there?’.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
Is Lough Gur worth visiting?
Yes! Even if you’ve no interest in history, this is a breath-taking place to explore on foot and it offers the perfect respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.
What is there to do at Lough Gur?
There’s numerous walking trails, the tour, the visitor centre, the endless ancient sites, Grange Stone Circle and plenty more.