Here, we share our cycling weekend in Limerick as part of our Staycation Ireland 2020 series.
This year as we are in “lockdown life”, where international traveling is pretty much non-existent, we started looking for alternative ways to feed the never-ending need for exploration and travel. Wanting to discover new places, for new adventures, and try new flavors led us to create this staycation series. We started with half-day cycling trips around Dublin; then further expanded to full-day trips: going to Wicklow natural area, to Skerries coastal town, and Blessington Lake so far.
As lockdown started to slowly ease, the opportunity to travel to another county led us to plan a weekend trip to Limerick. Planning for more than one day, packing, and going on a train made us feel like we were going on a proper trip, holidays finally! haha
Here, we share with you our weekend getaway to the city of Limerick and the village of Adare. Although we intended to initially cycle a loop that covers a trail around the Lough (Lake) Gur, located south of Limerick, the weather wasn’t in our favor so we decided to opt for other things to do for the 2 days we stayed in Limerick.
We enjoyed our much-needed break from “Lockdown life” and Dublin’s surroundings. It was a fun and relaxing trip that gave us that escape feeling.
Where is Limerick & Adare?
Located in the west of Ireland, Limerick is the 3rd biggest city in Ireland. It has a university and plenty of cafes, shops, restaurants, and museums to explore. The city can be a great base to visit the nearby Cliffs of Moher, but also the not so promoted Ballyhoura Mountains.
Adare is a picturesque village located south-west of Limerick and it is a 30min bus ride away from Limerick. The village is covered with thatched houses, some of them turned into cafes and bistros. This type of house is distinguishable by their roofs, which are made of sod or grass, layered over timber and topped with straw. This is a very old method of building roofs and it has been kept in some places in Ireland as a way of preserving cultural and historical heritage.
What to see on a weekend in Limerick?
Go to Milk Market
Limerick in itself is small and the city center is easily seen in a few hours, if not less. A nice attraction is the historic Limerick Milk market. You should go there on a Saturday morning and grab a nice breakfast at Bia cafe. They have inside tables to sit, offering a cozy atmosphere and the menu is all right for what they offer. We paid for 2 cappuccinos and 2 avocado/salmon poached eggs served with a sourdough toast 26.80€ in total for two. Otherwise, there are all kinds of great food that you can find in the market itself that you should try.
We peeked inside the market, but because the queue was so long, due to COVID 19 restrictions, we didn’t have enough time to visit. It’s also open on Sundays, but there isn’t as much life.
Try the Locke Bar
We went to Locke Bar for dinner and liked it. Located in Limerick’s medieval quarter, in the junction between the Abbey and Shannon rivers, Locke’s pub was a short walking distance from the city center. On our way there, it was already dark and the streets were quite empty. As we started crossing the bridge, close to the river junction, we spotted this bright and lively place further down by the river. The bar had a good few tables with people sitting outside and there were lights and lots of colorful flowers decorating the outside area. Inside, the bar had a fireplace, stone walls, with tables spread out, super cozy. It’s one of the oldest pubs in Limerick, dating back to 1724. The atmosphere was very lively and we sat outside enjoying a warm seafood chowder. It was a cold night, but they had heating outside, so it was perfect.
The village of Adare
Adare is the perfect day trip on a sunny day (if you are lucky!), to enjoy some peace & quiet in a historic village. It was created in the 13th century and the old centre area was destroyed during the wars in the 16th century. The Earl of Dunraven, who made his land available to tenants that would work on his lands, planned the current layout. He also built the current Adare Manor, which has a golf club around it and is currently a 5-star hotel. Adare has now become a touristy hotspot for day-trippers that come from Limerick usually.
It is easy to get there from Limerick. We wanted to cycle there, but because the weather was good we opted for the bus instead. It only took us 30mins to get there. For 9€ per person (return trip incl.), you can enjoy an afternoon there. The village is very small and easy to walk through, with plenty of cafes and bistros to eat from.
The way there was very relaxing, as we enjoyed the scenery that the Irish countryside has to offer, whilst listening to a nice playlist and getting lost in our thoughts. When we arrived, we just wandered around downtown Adare. Adare’s streets offer very diverse scenery with cozy thatched cottages, colorful pubs, and wooden decorated homes. You can soak up the relaxing and quiet atmosphere.
Although we didn’t explore much of the historical part of the village, there are also a few churches and castles to appease the history lovers.
Cycling in and around Limerick – Lough (Lake) Gur
Limerick is located on the River Shannon, and just 5min from our hotel there’s a park where the river curves and offers a great photo spot. If it’s sunny, you should head down there to take some nice pics and time-lapses.
As mentioned before, Limerick is surrounded by great nature spots. There are the Ballyhoura Mountains and lakes like the Lough Gur that are worth checking out. For cyclist lovers, there’s both on and off the road routes to explore. Check the Kilmallock Cycle Hub for some suggestions.
On Sunday, we decided to bike from Limerick to Lough Gur, which was a very easy and pleasant cycle. There was no headwind, the sky was grey but we only got some rain when we were already at the lake. Around the lake, a few historical monuments are part of this heritage trail. There’s also a heritage center that has an exhibition about the history of the lake and for 50c you can get a map of the surrounding area.
There are 2 small walks that you can do close to the lake: one that offers a great view from the top and the other offers a closeup look of the lake, as you walk alongside its shore. The lake has a horseshoe type shape and next to it is the Knockadoon Hill, which we tried to look for a way to climb from the heritage center, but the path was closed off as private property. We are not sure how you can reach there, but we saw people going up there.
Overall, we spent a good few hours and came back in time to enjoy some coffee and head back to Dublin.
When did we go?
We went to Limerick in late July, the weather wasn’t spectacular, but the temperature was warm enough and it didn’t rain the whole time.
How to get there?
From Dublin, the easiest way we found to get there was by train. The train departs from Heuston station and it takes less than three hours to arrive in Limerick. There are two train options: a train that goes from Dublin-Limerick Junction-Limerick city or a train that goes directly from Dublin to Limerick city. Once you arrive, it’s about a 10min walk to the city center.
Where to stay?
We stayed at the Pier Hotel, we found a good deal for the location, right in the city center. Although it was a good enough price for Irish standards, it wasn’t the best we’ve had, especially the mattress wasn’t good at all.
The costs below are a mix of fixed expenses with relative costs for 2 people: Accommodation: 112.50€ for 2 nights; Train Dublin-Limerick: 67.96€ with the return; Bus Limerick to Adare with return: 18€. Food estimate: €80.
Stay tuned! More coming up!