(800) 523-5842

 


– DEAL$ –
& SPECIAL OFFERS

 

HOT TRAVEL BARGAINS!

 

GET BARGAIN ALERTS

 

IN$TANT DI$COUNT$

 

GET A FREE PROPOSAL!

 

GET A FREE CATALOG

 

-2017-
DESTINATIONS

MANY PRICES STILL WELL
BELOW 8 YEARS AGO!

 

BRITAIN &

IRELAND

 

SCOTLAND
DARE TO COMPARE!

2017 PRICES

IRELAND

DARE TO COMPARE!

CALL 4 2017 PRICES

LONDON

DARE TO COMPARE!

2017 PRICES

ENGLAND
'THE LIONHEART'

2017 PRICES

WALES
'THE PENDRAGON'

2017 PRICES


 
 

PARIS

'LA BELLE'

 

2017 PRICES
DARE TO COMPARE!

PARIS + LONDON

 

 

NEW!

SWI+ZERLAND

6 special regions

2017 PRICES
DARE TO COMPARE!


 

 YOUR DREAM TRIP!  

CUSTOM-MADE

 EUROPE 

• FRANCE

• GERMANY

• ITALY

• NETHERLANDS

• SPAIN

• SWITZERLAND

 

 

bermuda

A PRETTY PLACE PLUS

2017 PRICES
LOWER PRICES AGAIN!


 

HOT!

ICELAND

2017 PRICES

COMBINED

ITINERARIES

 

 

SCANDINAVIA

THE GREAT NORTH

2017 PRICES
WOW! UP TO 14.54% BELOW 2009 LEVELS!

NORWAY

 

SWEDEN

 

DENMARK

 

COMBINED

ITINERARIES

 

 

NEW

ZEALAND

ROAD TRIP!

2017 PRICES
 WOW! UP TO 9.64% BELOW 2009 LEVELS!

NORTH ISLAND

 

SOUTH ISLAND

 

 
CURRENTLY
FEATURED @
HOMEATFIRST.COM
 

EDITOR'S BLOG

 

ADVENTURE

 

PEOPLE

 

GOLF COURSE

 

LODGING

 

EVENTS CALENDAR

 

 
HOME AT FIRST
 

CONTACT INFO

USA & CANADA
(800) 523-5842

WORLDWIDE
+1 610 543 4348

info@homeatfirst.com
 


HOME AT FIRST's

ADVENTURE

CENTRAL IRELAND-

LIMERICK

UP FROM THE ASHES

    WHY YOU CANNOT GO HOME AGAIN... 

                    This updated article first appeared in 2007. Latest update: 2014.        Photos © HOME AT FIRST

 

The Limerick, Ireland, of Angela's Ashes has become a tourist attraction.

 

Limerick Civic Center. Photo © Home At First.
LIMERICK CIVIC CENTRE ON THE
SHANNON, KING'S ISLAND, LIMERICK.

          Limerick is a historic market town in southwestern-central Ireland, the third city of the Republic (after Dublin and Cork), with an active harbor on the Shannon River, where it widens into an ocean-ships-navigable estuary. The small city occupies the east bank of the Shannon in three primary quarters: the old city, King's Island; the post-medieval town center, Irishtown; and the convoluted residential and commercial alleyways of blue collar south-central Limerick, Newtown Pery, home of Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes.

          King's Island has had its moments in the sun. Although the site has probably been inhabited by every major invading group since prehistory, Limerick first developed as an organized town here only after the Anglo-Norman invasions of the 12th century. In recent years considerable redevelopment has turned this historic place of English-Irish conflict into an attractive tourist center. Of today's collection of replica settlements and battlements in King's Island, none is more impressive than the

King John's Castle, Limerick. Photo © Home At First.
KING JOHN'S CASTLE, LIMERICK

imposing King John’s Castle on the riverside.

 

          The Limerick town center now is south of George's Quay in Irishtown. What until recently had been a depressing maize of narrow one-way streets barely supporting a business district has undergone massive renewal and is now a regional center for shopping, restaurants, and entertainment, especially at Arthur's Quay and Cruises Street shopping centers and along O'Connell Street. Limerick is an Irish music center, with festivals, pubs, street fairs, and concert events providing a wide variety of performance possibilities. Limerick is cosmopolitan enough to offer a wide variety of theme restaurants, including Chinese, American, Italian, Tex-Mex, fast food, posh food, teas, and, of course, a wide variety of pubs.
          The name Limerick may remind you of those nonsense rhymes first composed in this city. Legend has it that the form was first used orally in O’Twomy’s Pub in Memgrett Street by a poet named Andrew McGrath in the late 18th century and brought from there to London, where the verse thrived among Irish immigrants. For

 

the next 200 years the popular rhythmic form may

Limerick's gothic Villiers Almshouses cared for the poor and infirm when built in 1825. Now they have become a desirable block of townhouses. Photo © Home At First.
Limerick's gothic Villiers Almshouses
cared for the poor and infirm when
built in 1825. Now they have become
 a desirable  block of townhouses.

well have been the last positive development to come from Limerick.

          Limerick's more contemporary notoriety is as stage for Frank McCourt's hugely successful memoir, Angela's Ashes. McCourt's book/movie recalls the squalid tenement life of McCourt's family and neighbors during the 1930's and '40's. Although the title character of the tragicomic Angela's Ashes is McCourt's longsuffering mother, she shares top billing with the depressing slums of Limerick, which take on the role of villain in the piece. Limerick's Dickensian cityscape offered no escape to its poor

 

Catholic residents in McCourt's portrait of an

Ireland at the ebb of its 200-year slide.

          Things have turned around in Limerick, as in Ireland generally, in recent years. There are plenty of reasons for the change: European investment in this poorest of EU nations; a young, well-educated, jobless population perfectly positioned for the high-tech revolution; a population density low enough to keep infrastructure costs minimal and self-sufficiency within reach — both conditions virtual anomalies in Western Europe.

          Today, Limerick is again something of an economic crossroads, although no longer primarily as Ireland's premier inland port city. Ireland itself is rapidly becoming rich, and Limerick's central position gives it a special advantage. Secondly, but still importantly, the tide of visitors has turned. Once bleak Limerick is drawing tourists. Its proximity to Shannon Airport makes it the closest city to Ireland's major arrival point for North Americans and others. The Shannon Waterways landscape north and east of the city (including Home at First's Lough Derg area towns and villages) is becoming one of Ireland's most attractive touring centers. Thanks to the building of a long-overdue motorway system (using investment monies from the European Union) the traditional Kerry, Cork,

Map of Limerick city center. Map © Home At First.

Waterford, and Dublin tourist

regions are becoming more reachable than ever from a central base like Limerick. And, with the golf phenomenon taking hold in Ireland, the solid core of top-quality courses along the coasts and inland is drawing new interest in Limerick and Central Ireland. The town is a regional sports capital for more than golf, with fishing, Gaelic games (especially hurling), dog racing, sailing, and rugby all possible within the city’s environs and the region.

 

          Ironically, Angela's Ashes itself draws

Limerick is still a difficult city to negotiate by car. But find a parking spot — there's a free lot near the castle — and take a walking tour. Get a walking tour map at the tourist information office by the castle. Photo © Home At First.
LIMERICK HAS BECOME A WALKABLE, HISTORIC
CITY.
it remains a difficult city to
negotiate by car. But find a parking
spot — there's a free lot near the castle —
and take a walking tour. Get a walking
tour map at the tourist information
office by the castle.

people to Limerick, perhaps like pilgrims to Lourdes, looking to catch a glimpse of salvation amid the hopelessness of the tenements. The pilgrims may be disappointed by what they find. A cottage industry of Angela's Ashes related small businesses is prospering in Newtown Pery. There's a drugstore that advertises itself as the very one from the book. There are also guided and do-it-yourself walking tours of the Angela's Ashes district, from once-poor-now-posh Arthur's Quay south into the convoluted Newtown Pery neighborhoods, where urban renewal has obliterated the blight, replacing some tenements with fashionable new developments.
        The past is not too distant in Limerick. And, thanks to Angela's Ashes, the city has become symbolic of the level to which Ireland had fallen. Now, like a phoenix, and partly because of that notoriety, Limerick is rising from its ashes. But, like a recovering alcoholic with few pretensions, a noticeable inferiority complex, and a wonderfully complex history, Limerick can provide you with some rare

 

insight into the culture of Ireland.

 

— EXPLORE LIMERICK —

as part of your next visit to Ireland.
 
This article comes from Home At First's exclusive
"Ireland Activities Guide" that comes to you as part of your trip.
 
Learn all about
Home At First's travel programs to: IRELAND
 
Home At First offers travel to four great regions of Ireland. Have your own cottage in
CENTRAL IRELAND, SOUTHERN IRELAND, NORTHWESTERN IRELAND, OR NORTHERN IRELAND.
Minimum rental is one week, and you can mix and match with other
Home At First destinations
throughout
ENGLAND, SCOTLAND, and WALES. Or, for complete information about travel with
Home At First to Britain & Ireland, see: BRITISH ISLES.

 

YOUR DREAM TRIP BEGINS BY CONTACTING 
— HOME AT FIRST —