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Your Are Here - Home > Counties > Limerick County
Limerick is located on the mouth of the river Shannon. It is in the southwest corner of Ireland bordered by Kerry, Cork, Tipperary and Clare. Limerick is rich in scenery with the Golden Vale, which is the heartland of farming in the south of Ireland, and the Galtee Mountains. Limerick is becoming a very modern place and is full of things to do and see. Boat trips up the River Shannon are a great way of seeing Ireland at its best and boating holidays can be made throughout the year. Limerick is a great place to come to and the city has many great features to it.

The River Shannon flows through the city of Limerick and into the Atlantic Ocean at the north of the county. Below the city, the waterway is known as the Shannon Estuary. Because the estuary is shallow, the county's most important port is several kilometres west of Limerick city, at Foynes.


History
It is thought that man had established himself in the Lough Gur area of the county as early as 3000 BC, while megalithic remains found at Duntryleague date back further to 3500 BC. The arrival of the Celts around 400 BC brought about the division of the county into petty kingdoms or túatha.

Christianity came to Limerick in the 5th Century, and resulted in the establishment of important monasteries in Limerick, at Ardpatrick, Mungret and Kileedy. From this golden age in Ireland of learning and art (5th - 9th Centuries) comes one of Ireland's greatest artefacts, The Ardagh Chalice, a masterpiece of metalwork, which was found in a west Limerick fort in 1868.

The arrival of the Vikings in the 9th century brought about the establishment of the city on an island on the River Shannon in 922. The death of Donal Mór O'Brien, King of Munster in 1194 resulted in the invading Normans taking control of Limerick, and in 1210, the County of Limerick was formally established. Over time, the Normans became "more Irish than the Irish themselves" as the saying goes. The Tudors in England wanted to curb the power of these Gaelicised Norman Rulers and centralise all power in their hands, so they established colonies of English in the county. This caused the leading Limerick Normans, The Geraldines, to revolt against English Rule in 1569. This sparked a savage war in Munster known as the Desmond Rebellions, during which the province was laid to waste, and the confiscation of the vast estates of the Geraldines.

The county was to be further ravaged by war over the next century. After the Irish Rebellion of 1641, Limerick city was taken in a siege by Catholic general Garret Barry in 1642. The county was not fought over for most of the Irish Confederate Wars, of 1641-53, being safely behind the front lines of the Catholic Confederate Ireland. However it became a battleground during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland in 1649-53. The invasion of the forces of Oliver Cromwell in the 1650s included a twelve month siege of the city by Cromwell's New Model Army led by Henry Ireton. The city finally surrendered in October 1651. One of Cromwell's generals, Hardress Waller was granted lands at Castletown near Kilcornan in County Limerick. During the Jacobite-Williamite War (1689-1691) the city was to endure two further sieges, one in 1690 and another in 1691. It was during the 1690 siege that the infamous destruction of the Williamite guns at Ballyneety, near Pallasgreen was carried out by the heroic defender of Limerick, General Patrick Sarsfield The Catholic Irish, comprising the vast majority of the population, had eagerly supported the Jacobite cause, however, the second siege of Limerick resulted in a defeat to the Williamites. Sarsfield managed to force the Williamites to sign the Treaty of Limerick, the terms of which were satisfactory to the Irish. However the Treaty was subsequently dishonoured by the English and the city became known as the City of the Broken Treaty.

The 18th and 19th centuries saw a long period of persecution against the Catholic majority, many of who lived in poverty. In spite of this oppression, however, the famous Maigue Poets strove to keep alive their ancient Gaelic Poetry in towns like Croom and Bruree. The Great Famine of the 1840s set in motion mass emigration and a huge decline in Irish as a spoken language in the county. This began to change around the beginning of the 20th century, as changes in law from the British Government enabled the farmers of the county to purchase lands they had previously only held as tenants, paying high rent to absentee landlords.

Sport
Limerick is widely regarded to be the Irish home of Rugby union which is very popular in the county, but is mostly focused around Limerick city, which boasts many of Ireland's most celebrated All-Ireland League teams; Garryowen, Shannon, Old Crescent, Young Munster are among the most prominent. Limerick's Thomond Park is the home of the Munster Rugby team, who enjoy enthusiastic and often fanatical support throughout the county.

In the county, however, it is the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) which has the upper hand. Hurling in particular is strong in east, mid and south Limerick. The County Hurling Team, who play in the county colours of green and white, have won the coveted All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship seven times, although, despite good performances, their most recent success was in 1973. Limerick reached the 2007 Munster Senior Hurling Championship and All-Ireland finals in 2007, but were overcome by Waterford GAA and Kilkenny GAA.

The other GAA sport of Gaelic football is more popular in west Limerick, particularly along the Shannon Estuary west of Askeaton and along the Kerry border. There are also football strongholds in the souteast of the county and on the eastern edges of the city. Although one of the strongest teams in the country during the early years of the GAA, the game in the county was oveshadowed by hurling throughout the 20th century and its last success in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship, the Sam Maguire Trophy, was in 1896. However, Limerick footballers have seen a reversal of fortunes in recent years and contested successive Munster Senior Football Championship finals in 2003 and 2004.

Limerick 37 FC play in the FAI First Division, the second tier of Irish soccer, at the Jackman Park stadium.

The city also boasts one of Ireland's two 50-metre (55 yd) swimming pools, at The University of Limerick Sports Arena, as well as one of Ireland's top basketball teams, the Limerick Lions, whose home is also at the world class facilities on the University Campus.

 
 
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Limerick County
Limerick
Place: Munster
People: 131,303
Speak: English, Irish
Area: 2,686 km2
GPS: -8.75, 52.5