Both young and old will enjoy experiencing medieval Limerick in King John’s castle which dates back to the 13th century and is one of the best preserved Norman castles in Europe. It has been nearly a year since we last paid a family visit in my home town of Limerick but after attending a musical event on the May bank holiday weekend in the courtyard there ,it has reminded me that the kids are well overdue a return visit. I was a little dubious bringing three-year olds at the time wondering what fun they would get out of the visit to the castle but I need not have worried as there is so much to see and do, we spent a lovely few hours exploring the castle and grounds. The interactive visitors centre, open since 2013, offers pull out drawers filled with artefacts including weapons and coins (minted in the castle) to dress up areas for children and cannon ball games. Touch screen videos, large city models and interactive projections provide plenty of historical information.
A personal highlight was walking through and seeing the ruins of the Viking settlement underneath the castle and then coming up onto the courtyard. Upon entering the main courtyard of the castle you can watch a blacksmith at work in his forge from the side-lines of a 17th century siege. The castle itself has been restored beautifully which allows you to climb several viewpoints which offer a 360 degree view of Limerick, the Treaty Stone across the River Shannon, with Thomond park ( home to Munster rugby) in the background. Within the castle itself you can visit various bedrooms, weapons rooms and an excavated dining hall. To note you will not see grand ballrooms or refurbished dining halls in King Johns. The interactive projections in the castles’ rooms itself are great fun, where you get to see what it was like for those occupying the castle back when it breathed life. The kids had great fun being able to hold the weapons in the rooms.
The castle offers free parking, a café and a well stocked gift shop. All in all it is one of the best castles for keeping everyone entertained age regardless and definitely worthwhile putting on your places to visit with the kids this Summer.
For more details please visit https://www.shannonheritage.com/KingJohnsCastle/