A weekend in Limerick
Limerick gets a bit of a bad wrap amongst the Irish. It's seen as the crime capital of the country and whilst this might be vaguely true, in Irish terms that doesn't really amount to much. It's most likely that a first time visitor will stick to the city centre, containing the historical attractions, usual shopping streets and surprisingly good hotels, which is generally a very safe area.
There is a plethora of quality city centre 3- and 4-star hotels which are on the whole much cheaper than most other cities. Just try and avoid the weekends when the hordes of stag and hens descend on the city in wedding season. These lairy groups of bar hopping men and women are likely to be the most intimidating people you'll come across during your stay in Limerick but again, that's not saying much.
Whilst not a beauty of a city, Limerick is dominated by the giant King John's Castle. This fine example of a medieval fortress is both an attractive focal point and also a very good attraction with modern interactive exhibitions telling an interesting story of a 17th century siege.
Limerick is also an excellent jumping off point to some of Ireland's best scenery on both sides of the city.
To the North East of Limerick lie the spectacular Cliffs of Moher where the breath-taking cliff tower up to 214 metres out of the swirling Atlantic Ocean. Surrounding the Cliffs are the uniquely beautiful moonlike landscapes of the Burren which are a nice quiet counterpoint to the often crowded main attraction. Also a good stopping point is the Bunratty Folk Park and Castle which is one of the better living history museums in Ireland.
In the other direction is the Dingle Peninsula which just about qualifies as a perfect trip in a day from Limerick, albeit with a lot of driving. This beautiful slither of land may be less fêted than the Ring of Kerry to the south but it boasts similarly epic coastal views plus ancient monuments and the pretty town of Dingle. En-route to/from Dingle is the pretty, thatched cottage filled village of Adare which makes for a picturesque toilet stop.