King John's Castle, Limerick

King John's Castle, Limerick (must see)

King John's Castle appears almost the same as when it was built in the 13th century. It is probably the best-preserved Norman castle in Europe. The walls, towers, and ramparts are located on King's Island, surrounded by the waters of the River Shannon.

During the Viking era, the island Inis Sibhtonn (King's Island) served as a stronghold of Viking Sea King Tomair mac Ailchi. The Vikings raided up and down the river, pillaging ecclesiastical settlements, until the 10th century when the Dalcassian Clan and the King of Munster put an end to their shenanigans.

The arrival of the Anglo-Normans to the island in 1172 changed everything. A castle, built on the orders of King John and bearing his name, was completed around 1210. Limerick prospered, untrammeled by rebellious lords, Gaelic kingdoms, and pesky Vikings. A mint was established, making pennies and half-pennies. The city had "...stout walls of hewn marble."

The "stout walls" of King John's Castle were badly damaged in the 1642 Siege of Limerick. Garret Barry, General of the Catholic Confederation, undermined the walls, and the castle surrendered. Between 1642 and 1922, it was besieged five times.

King John's Castle underwent massive redevelopment in 2013. There is a new visitor center with interactive exhibits, computer animations, and a cafe with courtyard and river views.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Limerick. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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King John's Castle on Map

Sight Name: King John's Castle
Sight Location: Limerick, Ireland (See walking tours in Limerick)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Limerick, Ireland

Create Your Own Walk in Limerick

Create Your Own Walk in Limerick

Creating your own self-guided walk in Limerick is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Limerick Introduction Walking Tour

Limerick Introduction Walking Tour

Claudius Ptolemy, the great geographer of the ancient world, drew a map of Ireland in 150 AD. Indicated on the map was a place now called King's Island. It is said generous King Cormac ruled here in the 4th century. Here is where St Patrick baptized King Carthann the Fair in 434. Here is the ancient heart of Limerick.

St Munchin had been the first bishop of Limerick in 652. In 812, Vikings...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles