Limerick, County Limerick, Ireland
King Johns Castle sits on the banks of the River Shannon on what is known as King’s Island, 24 miles from Shannon in the centre of the city of Limerick.
The castle is well preserved and has kept a large amount of its original features including a huge gate house and its outer walls with castellated corner towers and battlements. The remains of the 13th century hall can also still be seen.
King Johns Castle is a very popular tourist attraction in Limerick. It offers the possibility to see over 800 years of history in one place. The castle has an exhibition of armoury and something which is especially popular; the medieval garrison and soldiers quarters which can be seen from the courtyard. There are battlement walks and pre-Norman houses along with the opportunity to take home a special coin minted at the castle’s own mint.
During the construction of the visitor centre workers on the site uncovered the remains of a Viking settlement which is also a very popular part of the castle to visit.
The castle is open all year (except Christmas) between 10am and 5pm.
The castle was built around 1197 under the orders of King John following the invasion of the Anglo-Normans. It was built on the site of an original Viking settlement believed to date back to 922 AD.
In 1642 the castle was occupied by people escaping the confederate wars and was badly damaged in the Siege of Limerick. The confederate leader Garret Barry had no artillery so dug under the foundations of the castle’s walls, causing them to collapse. There was also considerable damage caused during the Williamite sieges in the 1690’s and so the castle has been repaired and restored on a number of occasions.
In 1791 the British Army built military barracks suitable for up to 400 soldiers at the castle and remained there until 1922. In 1935 the Limerick Corporation removed some of the castle walls in order to erect 22 houses in the courtyard. These houses were subsequently demolished in 1989 when the castle was restored and opened to the public.
Other Castles in the Area
Adare Manor, County Limerick
Askeaton Castle, County Limerick
Bourchiers Castle, County Limerick
Bunratty Castle, County Clare
Carrigogunnell Castle, County Limerick
Desmond Castle, County Limerick
Dromoland Castle, County Clare
Knappogue Castle, County Clare
Matrix Castle, County Limerick