In the last 30 years, King John's Castle has moved from a state of relative neglect to a a state of relative grooviness. On my first visit, aged about seven, my Dad had to hold me by the scruff of my collar to prevent me from falling and hurting myself on the uneven old flagstones. This was of course before health and safety regulations were invented in Ireland. I distinctly remember weeds growing on the walls of the castle itself, making it look sad and decrepit.
The sprucing up for the 1991 Treaty 300 celebrations were an improvement, but the current exhibits and interactive displays are really cool. Apparently one of the people behind the Titanic experience in Belfast worked on the new interactive displays, and combining these with access to the layers of archaeological remains makes for a really great experience. There's quite a lot of the castle to just walk around, and some great views of the Shannon estuary and of the city from the ramparts and the courtyard. A great way to spend a couple of hours.
Another one of the firsts we saw while in Ireland.
Definitely a place to see while in Limerick.
The castle is an imposing structure with loads of history and beautiful views!!
I found this to by much better than the tour of Bunratty so if you have time to see only one castle when in the area then I prefer this one.
It is a larger castle and the views of the river and city are very nice.
The interpretive center is OK, but skip the movie it was really cheesy.
Our entire group was embarrassed by it.
This Castle built on the orders of King John in the early 13th C. occupies a commanding position on the southern bank of the River Shannon, here in Limerick, on what was the site of an earlier Viking settlement.
Limerick, (Luimneach), now the third largest city in Ireland, prospered as a port and trading centre under Norman rule, and the city was divided into two areas: "English Town" on the north side of the Shannon, while here on the south side another settlement, named "Irish Town" grew up.
A mint was established a mint in the north west tower of the castle. Today slightly comical wax figures are shown making coins stamped with Kings John's head.
And in another part of the castle you can even see King John himself scowling on his throne, though he never actually came here.
This was a five-sided castle, with high curtain walls surrounding a rectangular yard, it has been repaired and rebuilt many times over the years, particularly after being severely damaged in the Siege of Limerick 1642. Later In the 18th C, a military barracks was built within the castle.
Today the southside is entirely occupied by a not terribly attractive modern building, through which you enter, though inside it's great, containing a very good museum/exhibition, with excellent audio/visual displays & a gift shop, beneath which are visable archaeological excavations from the Pre-Norman settlement.
It's a fun castle lots of space, you can climb up the winding stone steps to one of the towers, disappointingly if you're as much of a kid as I am, you can't go along all of the battlements & towers, although it looks like you should be able to.
It's all very well maintained, and imaginatively they have gone some way to recreating the medieval atmosphere in the spacious courtyard, there's even a gallows!
If you're a child at heart like me and enjoy exploring castles, this is a good place to go. You get to go through most of what's left of the castle, but you can't climb to the very top :/ liabilities and whatnot. There's a lot of history too, if you feel like taking the time to read it. That's optinal of course.
King John's (built in the early 1200s) is a big castle with a big history. It's had big money spent on it too - the flashy main entrance leads to a multi-level interpretive centre that recounts the turbulent history of the castle and the area. You can still access the walls and towers, and view things like the early sallyport, armoury, and some pre-Norman (maybe Viking) foundations. It's a bit cheerless and empty on the inside, but the views of the Shannon are pretty, and if (like me) you're a castle nut you'll appreciate the interesting fortifications that were ground-breaking for the times.
The castle was built between 1200 and 1210 and repaired and extended many times in the following centuries. The castle has an interpretive centre and a historical exhibition. The courtyard and the castle display some of the trades and traditions of the 16th century with costumed characters. A great place to visit when in Limerick.
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