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King John’s Castle

Located on King's Island in Limerick, King John's Castle offers panoramic views over both the city and the River Shannon from its distinctive drum towers. A large renovation effort was completed in 2013 and visitors can now access the tower, which is the highest viewing point in the region, as well as accessing some interior rooms. Included in the entrance fee, visitors can access the interpretive centre, located within the castle, as well as receive a self-guided audio tour. 

History

  • Erected between 1200 and 1210 on an old Viking site, this five-sided Norman castle with round corner towers was once surrounded by a moat.
  • It was repaired and rebuilt several times, particularly in the 17th century.

Features

  • The round towers are the most distinctive features of the castle, which is mostly a shell.
  • The  north side of the castle walls still reveals evidence of a serious bombardment in 1691.

Visitor Centre

The site contains an interpretive centre for visitors, which has various exhibitions and activities. The centre uses touch screen technology, lifelike models and holographic projections to retell the story of King John's castle and its historical context.  An Education and Activity room contains audio-visual tasks for children, and kids enjoy playing with the exhibits. In the courtyard, a campaign tent and a blacksmiths forge help recreate the atmosphere of life in the castle in pre-Norman times. 

Archeological Artefacts

Over 1,000 artefacts have been unearthed during archaeological excavations at the castle, and many of these are on display here, including a pistol used in the 17th century siege of the castle. 

Visitor Tips

  • The interior of the castle is still partly a ruin and, while it has been recently restored,don't expect a castle full of rooms decorated with medieval furniture
  • For the reason above, the castle is most impressive from the outside -- that's where you will get the best picture s of the castle
  • On the other hand, climb the castle tower for great photos of Limerick city and the Shannon

Opening Times

The castle is open Monday to Sunday. Opening times vary, as follows: April to September

  •  9.30 am to 5.30am
  • Last entry 4pm

October to March

  •  9.30am to 4.30pm
  • Last entry 3.15pm

Dec 24th to 26th

  • Closed

Entrance Fees

  • Adult: €10.00 euro
  • Child: €5.25 euro
  • Child aged 5 and under: FREE
  • Family : €22.00 (two adults and  two children)
  • Family - additional: €25.00 (two adults and up to six children)

Official Website

http://www.shannonheritage.com/KingJohnsCastle/

Images

King John's Castle on River Shannon. Image by Marion Wacker

View of King John's Castle from street. Image by William Murphy

Courtyard at King John's Castle. Image by William Murphy

View of Limerick City from St. John's Castle. Image by willowherb

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