There’s some mighty things to do in Limerick City and beyond!
However, the county tends to get overlooked by many, despite the fact that it’s just off the Wild Atlantic Way.
So, our goal with this guide is simple – to help you discover a clatter of places to visit in Limerick, from hikes and walks to historical attractions and hidden gems!
The best things to do in Limerick (a quick overview)
The first section of this guide will give you a nice, speedy overview of the most popular things to do in Limerick, like King John’s Castle and the various hikes and walks.
The second section of the guide goes into the specific places to visit in Limerick, like the incredible Clare Glens and the often missed Lough Gur.
1. Walks and hikes
If you’re wondering what to do in Limerick on a fine day, you’re in luck – there’s some cracking walks in Limerick, with a track and trail to suit every level of fitness, from family friendly rambles to long and tough hikes. Here are our favourites:
- Limerick Greenway
- Clare Glens Loop
- Canon Sheehan Loop
- Curraghchase Forest Park
- Glenstal Woods
2. Limerick City
Limerick City gets a bad rep. Usually from people that have never been and that have zero plans of going. There’s plenty to see and do here and there’s some excellent pubs and restaurants on offer, too. Here are some of the more notable tourist attractions in Limerick City:
- St Mary’s Cathedral
- King John’s Castle
- The Milk Market
- Thomond Park
- Limerick City Gallery of Art
- St John’s Cathedral
- The Hunt Museum
- The People’s Park
3. Historical sites
Limerick is steeped in history and there’s plenty to discover as you make your way around the county. Here’s are some of the more popular historical places to visit in Limerick:
4. Towns and villages
Before you start looking at the various hotels in Limerick, it’s worth taking some time out to pick a base for your road trip. Here are a handful of our favourite towns and villages to tackle the many things to do in Limerick from:
5. Pubs and restaurants
Limerick’s food scene is buzzing and there’s new and innovative eateries popping up all the time. There’s also many long-standing favourites that have been keeping bellies happy for decades. Here are some food and drink guides to hop into:
- 11 of best traditional pubs in Limerick
- 16 of the finest restaurants in Limerick in 2022
- 9 spots dishing up the best breakfast in Limerick
- 8 popular places for afternoon tea in Limerick
What to do in Limerick if you want to explore on foot
In the section below, we’re going to take you through a clatter of active things to do in Limerick City and beyond.
Below, you’ll find river walks and long-distance hikes to handy options for those of you wondering what to do in Limerick on a fine morning.
1. The Clare Glens Loop
The Clare Glens Forest is a beaut of a spot and it straddles the Limerick/Tipperary border.
There’s two trails to choose from here – the Clare Glens Loop (4km/1-1.5 hours) and the Nature Loop (2km/45 minutes) and both immerse you in unspoiled nature.
Arguably the highlight of the Clare Glens are the waterfalls and you’ll stumble upon them as your saunter along (here’s a guide to the walks).
2. The various Ballyhoura walks
Ireland’s magnificent Ballyhoura Region is spread across Limerick, north-east Cork and west Tipp and it’s home to a bounty of trails, historical sites and charming towns.
In our Ballyhoura Walks guide we take you through a mix of trails ranging from handy to hard.
On the Limerick side, some of the more popular trails are the Blackrock Loop, the Greenwood Trail and the Nature Trail.
3. The Canon Sheehan Loop
The Canon Sheehan Loop is another mighty stroll for those of your in search of things to do in Limerick today!
The moderately difficult trail, which takes you around Glenanair Forest, is a good hours drive from the city, but it’s worth the journey.
It stretches for 7km and takes around 2.5 hours to conquer. Along the route, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the Blackwater Valley and the Nagle and Knockmealdown Mountains
4. Curraghchase Forest Park
You’ll find Curraghchase Forest Park in Kilcornan, a 15-minute spin from Adare, where it’s spread across 313 hectares.
Visitors here can expect beautifully maintained woodland that boasts lakes, parkland and plenty of trails.
If you’re looking for easy-going things to do in Limerick with kids, the Lake Trail is a 15-minute/2.4km walk while the Glenisca Trail (3.5km/1 hour) will suit those of you after a longer walk.
5. The Knockfierna hike
Known as the ‘Hill of the Fairies’, Knockfierna offers walkers views, folklore and a variety of trails. It’s a 40-minute spin from the city and it’s a great spot for an early morning hike on a clear day.
The trails here range from 25 minutes to 2.5 hours and many of them kick-off near the Rambling House.
When the weather plays ball, you’ll be treated to gorgeous 360-degree views of County Limerick, South Tipperary and North Kerry.
6. Lough Gur
One of Ireland’s most important archaeological sites, Lough Gur is home to the largest stone circle in the country.
The area is steeped in history and there’s physical evidence of occupation from the Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Early Christian, Medieval, Early Modern and Modern eras in and around Lough Gur.
hat’s over 6,000 years of visible history in one place. There’s plenty of trails to head off on here and you can buy an audio guide from the visitor centre.
Related read: Check out our guide to the best things to do in Shannon, Ireland in 2022.
7. The Limerick Greenway
The Limerick Greenway follows the 40km Limerick to Tralee railway line and can be joined in several places (if you want to do the full stretch try and start in either Rathkeale or Abbeyfeale.
It takes around 3.5 hours to cycle and can take up to 10 hours to walk, depending on pace.
Over the course of the route you’ll be treated to a look at a side of the county that people often miss – this is one of the most popular things to do around Limerick for good reason!
Things to do in Limerick City
The next section of our guide takes a look at the best things to do in Limerick City.
Below, you’ll find everything from castles and cathedrals to handy activities for those of you wondering what to do in Limerick when it rains.
1. King John’s Castle
A visit to the mighty King John’s Castle is one of the more popular things to do in Limerick City.
And it’s not hard to see why – King John’s Castle is easily one of the most impressive medieval castles in Ireland.
Over 800 years of dramatic history culminate at the centre of King’s Island in Limerick City, upon which King John’s Castle proudly stands.
A visit to the castle, which dates back to 922AD and the arrival of the Vikings, will immerse you in its history via state of the art interpretive activities and exhibitions, 21st century touch screen technology, 3D models and much more.
2. The Milk Market
Although there’s plenty of restaurants in Limerick, we find ourselves returning to The Milk Market during most visits to the city.
It’s one of Ireland’s oldest markets and it dates back to at least the early 19th century.
Here you’ll find stalls selling arts and crafts, a variety of drinks, baked bits, tasty treats and everything from clothes, speciality foods and plenty more.
3. St Mary’s Cathedral
St Mary’s Cathedral was founded over 850 years ago in 1168 AD and it stands majestically over the City of Limerick on the banks of the River Shannon.
It’s believed that St. Mary’s was built on the site of a Viking Thingmote (a meeting place), and later the palace of the O’Brien kings of Thomond.
This extraordinary building has stood strong through invasions, sieges, battles, wars, famines and times of peace.
4. The Hunt Museum
If you’re looking for things to do in Limerick City when it rains, the Hunt Museum is well worth nipping into.
The museum preserves and exhibits the countless original artefacts that were gathered by John and Gertrude Hunt, along with some of the museum’s own collections.
Expect to find everything from Irish Pre-historic archaeological material to art from Pablo Picasso, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Roderic O’Conor, Jack B. Yeats, Robert Fagan and Henry Moore.
5. The Treaty Stone
The Treaty Stone is one of the more unique tourist attractions in Limerick and, while you won’t spend long here, it’s well worth understanding the tale attached to it.
It was on this stone that the Treaty of Limerick was penned in 1691. This event was hugely significant as it marked the surrender of Limerick City to William of Orange.
Both armies watched the signing of the Treaty from the Clare-end of the nearby Thomond Bridge.
6. The Limerick City Gallery of Art
Culture-vultures wondering what to do in Limerick need look no further than the brilliant Limerick City Gallery of Art.
Here you’ll find contemporary art exhibits on display from both national and international artists.
The gallery itself is built into the Carnegie Building on the grounds of the People’s Park – so it’s perfect to pair it with a walk there.
7. St John’s Cathedral
St John’s Cathedral is an impressive building that boasts one of the tallest spires in Ireland (266 feet). It dates back to 1856 and it was designed and built in a ‘Gothic-Revival’ style.
Inside, you’ll find the Bishop’s Throne, which was made in Munich in 1984, an altar made from Limerick marble, an enormous wooden organ and plenty more.
More popular places to visit in Limerick
The final section of our guide is packed with a load more things to do in Limerick… that don’t fit into the categories above and we weren’t sure where to stick ’em!
Below, you’ll find everything from castles and forest to indoor attractions and one of the more unusual places to visit in Limerick.
1. Day trips
One of the beauties of Limerick is that it’s close to many of the most popular things to do in Ireland, and you can visit many on a day trip.
Here are a handful of organised trips with excellent reviews online (affiliate links):
- Ring of Kerry full day tour from Limerick
- Aran Islands + Cliffs of Moher day trip from Limerick
- Organised Dingle day trip from Limerick
2. Desmond Castle Adare
Desmond Castle in Adare was built during the 12th-century and it’s now in ruins (it’s still one of the most impressive castles in Limerick, though!).
You can take a tour of the castle (a bus leaves from the Heritage Centre in Adare) and immerse yourself in the area’s past.
Over the course of the tour you’ll learn about the origins of Adare, from the arrival of the Normans right the way up to the Middle Ages.
3. Glenstal Abbey
Glenstal Abbey was built in the 1830s and is now a Benedictine Monastery. The welcome visitors to the Monastery reception at 10:30 for tea/coffee and homemade scones each day.
Even if you’ve no interest in history, it’s worth a visit to tackle the 6km walk around its grounds. The trail will take you 2 to 3 hours and you can grab a post-ramble feed in Murroe when you’re done.
4. Carrigogunnell Castle
Although the current Carrigogunnell Castle dates to 1450, there are recordings of a castle being in this location since as far back as 1209.
The ruins you see above tell the tale of its demise after it was captured during the second Siege of Limerick in 1691 (a warning – it’s tricky to get to).
It’s said that the name Carrigogunnell, which means ‘Rock of the Candle’, was given to the castle as it was once occupied by a hag who lit a candle every night.
According to legend, if you looked at the flame you’d pass away before dawn!
5. Foynes Museum
Foynes Flying Boat Museum is another handy option for those of you wondering what to do in Limerick when it rains!
It’s a 45-minute spin from the city and it boasts an aviation museum and a maritime museum. As you wander around, you’ll see everything from the only B314 flying boat replica on earth to a paddle board steamer cabin and plenty more.
It’s also home to the Irish Coffee Lounge where it’s said the first Irish Coffee was brewed up.
6. Glenstal Woods
Glenstal Woods can be found at the end of the Slieve Felim Mountains and it’s home to some long and rewarding walks.
The Glenstal Woods Walk is a 15km long trek that takes around 4 hours to complete. At its highest point you’ll be treated to glorious views (keep an eye out for Keeper Hill!).
It’s also a popular birdwatching location so keep your eye out for all sorts of birdlife, with the Hen Harrier bird of prey often visible in the skies above.
What to do in Limerick: Where have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant places to visit in Limerick from the guide above.
If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!
FAQs about things to see in Limerick
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What are some unusual things to do in Limerick?’ to ‘What’s good for families?’.
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.
What are the best things to do in Limerick?
In our opinion, the various walks mentioned above, like the Clare Glens Loop, are the pick of the bunch. Limerick’s trails are all too often overlooked.
What are good scenic places to visit in Limerick?
There’s heaps of scenic places to visit in Limerick, from Ballyhoura and Curraghchase to the Glenstal Woods, Glenanair Forest and more (see above).
Thursday 5th of December 2019
Hi Keith! Falling in love with your guides! I wanted to travel from Cork to Clare and Galway and figured Limerick would be a good pit stop to spend a day and a good nap! However, I'm not entirely convinced I should give up a full day to Limerick on a week road trip... any advice? Is their a better route?
Tuesday 10th of December 2019
Apologies - I've been battling the vomiting bug over the past couple of days. Thanks for the kind words - it's always great to get a bit of feedback! OK, well it completely depends on the type of things you want to see, really.
Limerick has a heap of history tied to it. It also has some lovely little towns like Adare. Now, if you're looking for a shorter route to Clare, take the ferry from Tarbert across to Clare and spend the night in somewhere like Spanish Point (the Armada is incredible).
If you're not entirely convinced, that is. If there's anything else you need a hand with, just shout!