Limerick City is around 1,100 years old. It has been a Viking settlement, a medieval walled town, a Georgian city and is currently a cutting edge, dynamic metropolitan zone with a rich and notable hinterland.
Limerick was established by the Vikings around 922 AD. The Vikings were brilliant merchants and craftsmen and Limerick had contacts with other Viking towns all throughout Europe.
St Mary’s Cathedral was established in the eleventh century and remains the oldest structure in Limerick still being used for its original purpose.
The Normans conquered Limerick in 1195 and left their stamp on the city. Lord John’s Castle, the walls of Limerick and the local government framework they established, survive to present time.
In 1413 King Henry V conceded a sanction which made Limerick a free city-state. The city even had its own outside arrangement. In 1524 Limerick and Galway really went to war which seems to have finished as a draw and was closed by a formal peace settlement.
In the 1530s, the Tudors conveyed real changes to Limerick. Ruler Henry VIII parted from Rome and the Pope. This made way for Protestantism in Ireland. Henry closed up the monasteries of Ireland and gave their territory to steadfast supporters. By 1603 the English crown controlled all of Ireland. Limerick lost the majority of its medieval freedom.
The seventeenth century was the most brutal century in Ireland and Limerick’s history. The city persevered through four appalling attacks in 1642, 1651, 1690 and 1691 as the city was a focal stage in the European wars. After the fourth attack, the Treaty of Limerick was agreed upon. Patrick Sarsfield and the other Catholic pioneers left Limerick and Ireland. The Flight of the Wild Geese started.
The walls of Limerick were brought down in 1760s to enable the city to grow. Nearby landowner and MP Edmund Sexton Pery chose to assemble another city on his property toward the south of medieval Limerick. In 1769 Christopher Colles delivered an arrangement for this new city in view of a framework like development. The new city was called Newtown Pery after its author Edmund Sexton Pery.
The nineteenth century was a time of extraordinary change. The fire service, sewerage, gas and water supply, social lodging, public well-being and first public library were introduced. Many fine chapels and schools were built at that time, including Mary Immaculate College and Limerick School of Ornamental Art (LIT). Limerick’s most famous traditional industries were established including the four bacon factories; flour mills; dairy products ; lace manufacturers and clothing factories.
Limerick took a major part in the events leading to Irish independence. In 1919, it was the scene of a general strike known as the Limerick Soviet when the strike committee ran the city for two weeks. In 1921, two Mayors of Limerick, O’Callaghan and Clancy were shot dead by the Black and Tans.
In 1922, it was besieged during the Civil War. In the past half century, Limerick has become a modern place. The University of Limerick was established in 1972. From the 1970s , many of the traditional industries were replaced by multi-national companies. In 2014 Limerick City Council and Limerick County Council became a single authority.
County Limerick is a very historic and ancient place, with evidence of human settlement dating back 5,000 years. Lough Gur is one of the most significat archaeological sites in Ireland, containing the country’s largest stone circle, a dolmen, and other prehistoric remains.
County Limerick as we know it today was created in the 1250s and has many fine medieval monuments. Magnificent castles and abbeys can be seen in the historic towns of Adare, Askeaton, Kilmallock and Newcastle West. Fine 19th century churches are found in Kilmallock, Rathkeale and Ballingarry. With its splendid manor and elegant thatched cottages, Adare is one of Ireland’s most beautiful villages.
Limerick gives its name to “The limerick” a popular five line humorous poem, thought to be derived from the 18th century, Maigue Poets of Croom, Co. Limerick.