County Limerick—so named for its largest city, Limerick—is one of 26 counties in the Republic of Ireland. The county is located in the nation's southwestern region, more specifically in the province of Munster. An estimated 195,000 people live within the county, and nearly half of that population can be found in Limerick City. Other notable cities nearby include Annacotty, Newcastle West, Castleconnell, and Abbeyfeale. As of the 2016 census, no other towns in County Limerick have more than 2,000 residents, though numerous communities dot the territory's landscape. The River Shannon passes directly through Limerick City, acting as a border with County Clare as it stretches out into the Shannon Estuary and onward to the Atlantic Ocean. Shannon Airport, located in County Clare, offers visitors access to Limerick, seeing as how it is only a few miles away. Remnants of the county's oldest civilizations include Stone Age tombs at Duntryleague, as well as stone circles in Lough Gur. These structures are estimated to have been created in 3500 BC and 3000 BC, respectively.
Situated in the Munster province of Ireland, County Limerick is named after the city of Limerick within its borders. The population of the county is estimated to be around 195,000 as of the 2016 national census. Limerick City itself contains around 95,000 residents, with the remaining 100,000 people being split among numerous smaller communities. Newcastle West, Annacotty, Castleconnell, and Abbeyfeale are the only other cities in County Limerick that have a population greater than 2,000. Limerick City's population marks it as the fourth-most populous city in Ireland. There are various cultural elements that comprise the city, such as the Limerick City Gallery of Art, the Lime Tree Theatre, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, and the University of Limerick.
Many of the activities in the area in and around Limerick City are focused on experiencing the outdoors. Outdoor drinking locations, for example, are prevalent in the city, involving destinations such as The Locke Bar, Treaty City Brewery, Molly's Bar, and Tom Collins Bar, to name a few. The Limerick Greenway is a 40km path that curves its way through the local countryside, offering "an authentic experience of rural Ireland for cyclists, runners, and walkers." Bike rentals are available through Limerick Greenway Bike Hire, which is a company that is stationed in various local cities. Another potential attraction for tourists to the area includes the Stonehall Wildlife Park, which is home to animals such as llamas, ostriches, parrots, and alpacas. The zoo emphasizes education, safety, and recreation as some of its goals.
Aside from outdoor-oriented attractions, Limerick contains activities based on history and man-made structures. The Hunt Museum is "in the heart of Limerick" and has a collection of ancient Greek and Roman artifacts, in addition to various art pieces. Founded in 1168, the St. Mary's Cathedral is "part of the fabric of Limerick life." Throughout lunchtime and in the evening, performances are held at the cathedral at no cost to tourists.
County Limerick is one of Ireland's most southwestern territories, bordered by four other counties (Kerry, Clare, Tipperary, and Cork). The region's name is derived from its largest city, Limerick, which is positioned directly around the River Shannon. This body of water, in turn, flows into the Shannon Estuary. Limerick is the largest city in the county by a significant margin, though other notable cities include Newcastle West, Castleconnell, Rathroe, and Annacotty. Roads such as N24, N20, N21, and N69 act as some of the most prominent methods of travel in County Limerick, and the motorway M7 leads from Limerick City's eastern portion to the country's capital, Ireland.
Described as having an "oceanic" climate, Limerick has relatively mild winters and summers. Temperatures rarely drop below 4 degrees Celsius, even between December and February, though the region's wind and humidity can cause the climate to seem colder than it truly is. During winter, the sky is frequently cloudy and rainfall occurs often. Any snowfall that the area experiences is reportedly rare and lacks volume. Summer, on the other hand, sees temperatures that average 15 degrees Celsius, with the highest temperature on record being approximately 32 degrees. Due to the fact that summers are not overwhelmingly hot, it is recommended that tourists visit Limerick from June to August. Outdoor activities are more accessible and enjoyable in the warmer weather, though visitors should still be equipped with umbrellas, sweaters, or other items to protect against any rain, should it fall.
The majority of Limerick's biodiversity can be traced to the habitats surrounding the network of rivers near the town (Shannon, Ballynaclough, Abbey). Such environments include wetlands, grasslands, and woodlands. Many species inhabit the region, such as bats, swifts, hawthorn, blackthorn, dandelions, bees, and earthworms. City officials have encouraged local residents to create a "wildlife-friendly garden" on their property. Specific tasks that help to create such environments include erecting bird and bat boxes, planting native trees, and using native hedgerows as property borders instead of fences or walls.
Like other regions in Ireland, Limerick is home to various remnants of ancient human civilization. Stone circles at Lough Gur can be traced back to 3000 BC, with tombs at Duntryleague that are estimated to have been constructed in 3500 BC. Celt settlers to the area first arrived in 400 BC, establishing kingdoms that were known as tuatha. Many ruling families increased their influence over the centuries, and cultures of Christianity entered the scene in the fifth century. This led to the construction of various monasteries in locations such as Mungret, Killeedy, and Ardpatrick.
Limerick City itself was initially formed by the Vikings on an island on the River Shannon. This took place in 922 AD, though County Limerick would not be created until 1210. War broke out all across the county in the 1600s, seeing events such as the Irish Rebellion of 1641, and the Irish Confederate Wars, in addition to numerous other sieges and invasions. These battles eventually came to a head in favor of the Williamites, though political maneuvering on the park of Patrick Sarsfield (a Jacobite) allowed the Irish to gain some satisfactory terms by means of the Treaty of Limerick. English people dishonored this treaty over time, however, leading the town to be known as the "City of the Broken Treaty."
During the 1800s, sizeable proportions of Limerick's population declined either through deaths caused by The Great Famine of Ireland or simply by emigration to the United States of America, Canada, and Australia. Modern history has seen a growth in Limerick's population and its economic developments. Shannon Airport, located just outside of County Limerick, was established in 1942 and offered transatlantic flights. The University of Limerick was founded on the structure of NIHE Limerick in 1989, adding an active student population to the city.
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