Last weekend Killian and I got to spend some time in Limerick. I've been a few times before, but not really gotten to explore much of the county, let alone the city! So I was pretty excited. We stayed in the Absolute Hotel, which has an incredible view of the river.
The first place we visited was the Milk Market. Basically, it's a farmers market. It was within easy walking distance of the hotel. One thing I really like about Limerick is all of the old walls that are falling apart, propped up in the middle of all the new buildings. There's such a contrast between old and new.
After strolling through the market, we walked over to King John's Castle. Again, not too far of a walk at all. There was another sign advertising potatoes! In fact, a whole potato market! Kind of comical. And unfortunately, not up and running when we passed by.
When we got to the castle, we had to snag a photo of this mural on the building across from the entrance. How awesome is it?!
Then, we headed in. You start inside, walk outside past the tavern, then back inside underneath the castle, before getting to the main outside area. It finishes up with a few final exhibits inside. We were lucky and most of the times we were outside it was sunny. But there were definitely a few off and on downpours throughout the day.
Killian finds the end of the stairs.
Killian looks particularly cute as we explore the castle.
There were some really beautiful views from different areas of the castle. This was probably my favourite - a view of Limerick, the river, and one of the many beautiful churches.
By then we were getting hungry, so we decided to go to the Locke Bar right around the corner fro the hotel for some food and drinks. It was such a cosy pub with a welcoming atmosphere. We lucked out and got a seat by the fireplace and right around the corner from the live music that came later.
The next day we visited Lough Gur and some of the ruins surrounding it. We started off with a "walk" (better known as a hike up a bunch of stairs) to get a good view of the lake. It was the same weather again - off and on sun and pouring rain. Lucky we didn't get rained on!
After that we did the next walk around the other side of the lake.
There was a pigeon house, or at least the remains of one, that we got to go up and read about and explore. That was a first for me!
Our next stop was reached by car. It's just a few streets down around the lake: The Grange stone circle. The largest stone circle in Ireland, based on circumference. The same goes with all of these locations at the lake (including the lake), but I urge you to Google images of the stone circle so you can see it in summer with all of the beautiful trees bushy and green. There's something so magical about the trees in Ireland. The circle is part of the farm land surrounding it, so we had to cross a bunch of deep cow tracks in the mud (and some cow pies) to get to the stones. It was amazingly round, though I don't know if that was captured in the pictures. Isn't it crazy how they did stuff like that, before technology?
Below, on the left, you can see a stack of stones. We could see a bunch of offerings left on top and behind them, such as coins and candles and crosses. I wasn't sure what the meaning of the stack of stones was, so I looked it up when I got home and this is what I found on the website Voices of the Dawn:
Next to the massive stone is a smaller stack of stones, said to represent Eithne, the Corn Child. She was the fairy mistress of the dark Crom Dubh, the god of the harvest.
On the right, you can see me standing next to the tallest stone in the circle. I'm roughly 5'5".
It was remarkably close to the road, as you can see in the middle picture below. The gravel area is the parking to get to the stone circle.
I can only imagine how it would've looked when it was built, with all of the original trees. Our last stop was New Church.
The cemetery held a lot of recent graves and was well-visited with lots of flowers and gifts left at most of the headstones. It was also situated very close to the lake, with a beautiful view. When I came over to the wall to look at the lake, I saw a pheasant, which quickly flew off across the road.
It was a really wonderful weekend in Limerick, getting to learn about so much of its history. There's a lot left to explore, but I'm glad that I got to see a little glimpse of it all! As always, a big thanks to Killian for toting me around to all of these locations. And an apology to all of you for these all being phone pictures - I was enjoying myself too much to worry about the quality, and couldn't have been bothered trying to protect my camera fro the intermittent rain showers. Until next time!