King John's Castle

Located on King's Island on the banks of the River Shannon, King John's Castle is a striking reminder of Limerick's medieval history. You will undoubtedly wish to add King John's castle to your itinerary when exploring the city. The well-preserved castle now boasts a state-of-the-art visitor's center that uses technology to bring this history vibrantly to life, making it an educational attraction that the entire family will enjoy.

King John's Castle brooding over the River Shannon

The imposing Norman castle was built on the orders of King John of England between 1200 and 1212 (hence the name) to defend the river crossing. King John was the brother of Richard the Lionheart, associated with legends such as Robin Hood and the Knights' of the Round Table. Even if not as popular as his brother, John, Lord of Ireland, was a formidable force in battle and when he set about claiming territory in Ireland, he certainly made his mark in Limerick. King John's Castle retains many of the pioneering features like vast curtain walls, which made its construction unique for the day. Explore its massive twin gate towers, battlements and corner towers and learn more about the castle's turbulent history. 

Dive into King John's Castle's history

Discover the visitor center with state of the art interpretive activities and exhibitions. Step back in history and let yourself be transported back to times of siege and medieval warfare, thanks to touch screen technology, 3D models and discovery drawer. Children will love the dazzling array of computer generated animations and ghostly projections as they travel back through centuries. The Education and Activity Room is bustling with tasks to stimulate curious minds. Have fun exploring King John's Castle and imagine a Norman soldier's life in this medieval fortress. Reach out and touch the past through a wide range of new technologies and specialist multimedia techniques. Join in the living interpretation and re-enactment with costumed guides who reveal the secrets and scandals of castle life. In the busy courtyard, you will discover a medieval campaign tent, a blacksmiths forge and scenes from a seventeenth century siege. The sights, scenes and sounds of King John's Castle and its environs all combine to recreate the atmosphere of the era. Upstairs from the cafe, don't miss the exhibitions on the castle's archaeology and the development of Georgian Limerick, then take the chance to rest your legs in the cafe – the perfect place to unwind while enjoying terrific views onto the castle courtyard and the Shannon river. Though the best views of the castle itself are from the riverside walk on the far side of the Shannon.