Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- This article is about the city in Ireland. For other uses of the name, see Limerick (disambiguation).
Limerick (Irish: Luimneach) is a city and county seat of County Limerick in the province of Munster, in the midwest of the Republic of Ireland. The city lies on the River Shannon, with three main crossing points near the city centre. It is chiefly renowned for its rugby heritage, including the famous Garryowen rugby club, after which the high rugby kick is named. Limerick has a proud sporting tradition, as the spiritual home of Irish rugby, as well as being a powerhouse in hurling. The population of Limerick including environs is 86,998 (CSO, 2002).
Main Article: History of Limerick
The city dates from at least the Viking settlement in 812, but history suggests the presence of earlier settlements in the area. The Normans redesigned the city in the 12th century and added much of the most notable architecture, such as King John's Castle and St. Mary's Cathedral. During the civil wars of the 17th century, the city played a pivotal role, besieged by Oliver Cromwell in 1651 and twice by the Williamites in the 1690s. Limerick grew rich through trade in the late 18th century, but the Act of Union in 1800, and the famine caused a crippling economy decline only broken by the so-called Celtic Tiger in the 1990s.
Main Article: Architecture of Limerick
Much Georgian architecture was evident in the city from about the 1800s onwards. Although some has since been demolished, much of the city centre area is built in the Georgian fashion. Other architectural buildings of note in the city are King John's Castle, St. Mary's Cathedral and St. John's Cathedral. St. Mary's Cathedral, at over 800 years old, is one of the oldest in Ireland. St. John's Cathedral, whilst more modern, has one of the tallest steeples.
One of Ireland's most celebrated museums, the Hunt Museum is based in the historic 18th-century former Custom House. The museum was established to house an internationally important collection of approximately 2000 works of art and antiquities formed by John and Gertrude Hunt during their lifetimes. On display are the 9th century Antrim Cross , a sketch by Picasso and a bronze sculpture of a horse, said to be from a design by Leonardo da Vinci.
- See Also: Architecture of Ireland
Local public transport is provided by Bus Éireann, Ireland's national bus operator. Services to suburban districts of Caherdavin, Castletroy, Raheen run every 20 minutes, services to other suburbs are less frequent. Iarnród Éireann's Colbert station is the terminus for frequent services to Dublin and Cork (serving many intermediate stations), a frequent all-day commuter service to Ennis, as well as a three-times daily service to Waterford and stations in County Tipperary. Intercity and international buses leave from the adjoining Bus Eireann bus station. Hourly services to Dublin, Cork and Galway and others; daily to London. Shannon International Airport, 20km north of the city, has scheduled flights to many European and North American destinations. Airlines using the airport include Ryanair, Aer Lingus and Royal Jordanian.
- See also: Transportation in Ireland
Limerick is an important centre of higher education in Ireland, having its own university and several colleges.
The University of Limerick (UL), which is situated about 5km east of the city center in the suburb of Castletroy, is an internationally renowned center for Engineering, Information Technology, Materials Science, Sports Science , Humanities and Social Sciences and Music (the Irish World Music Centre specialises in traditional music and dance, and UL is host to the Irish Chamber Orchestra). It has a student population of over 12,000.
Limerick Institute of Technology, based about 3km north-west of the city centre, is an important regional center for business, engineering and science education. It also has a broad range of art and design courses, offered at Limerick School of Art and Design – its Clare Street campus (near the city centre). Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, linked to the University of Limerick, is an education and arts college situated just southwest of the city centre.
- See Also: Education in Ireland
Lyric FM, a state-run classical music radio station and part of RTÉ, broadcasts nationally from studios in the city centre. Limerick's local radio station is Live 95FM, broadcasting from 'Radio House', near the waterfront at Steamboat Quay.
Several local newspapers are published in the city, including The Limerick Post, the Evening Echo and The Limerick Leader.
The Belltable Arts Center on O'Connell St. is host for local playwriting and drama. Mike Finn 's numerous plays have been wildly successful, including Pigtown set around a century of the city's history, and Shock and Awe, an energetic retelling of Homer's Iliad. The new University Concert Hall provides a large venue for national and international acts to visit the city.
Limerick's major contemporary art event is EV+A (Exhibition of Visual+ Art) which invades the city annually, often in bizarre ways. Established in 1977 EV+A has become one of Ireland's premier annual exhibitions of contemporary art. The centre of the exhibition is the Limerick City Art Gallery on Perry Square however EV+A generally uses numerous other venues through-out the city.
Limerick's music scene is one of the most vibrant and creative in the Republic, producing bands such as The Cranberries, 22 and Giveamanakick. More classically, The Limerick Art Gallery and the Art College cater for painting, sculpture and performance art of all styles.
- See also: Culture of Ireland
Limerick is at the heart of the region dubbed "the Midwest". Also known as the "Shannon Region", this is primarily an economic and social concept. The region encompasses County Limerick, County Clare, North County Tipperary and Northwest County Kerry. The area is possibly the main economic region outside of Dublin. Its economic success has been driven in part by the University of Limerick, Shannon Airport in Co. Clare and Shannon Development (an economic development agency). Many multi-national companies are based in Limerick and Shannon Town. Dell Computer have their major European Manufacturing Facility in Limerick, currently producing 30,000-60,000 units per day for export. This contributes 5.8% of Irish GDP (2002). Analog Devices have their European manufacturing base in Raheen industrial estate, 3km south-west of the city centre. The site employs more than 1,000 people.
- See Also: Economy of Ireland
Famous Limerick People
- Pat Cox, President of the European Parliament 2002-04.
- Eamon Dunphy, journalist, broadcaster and soccer analyst .
- Mike Finn , local playwright and actor.
- Steve Finnan, a current soccer star in Liverpool FC and a part of Republic of Ireland squad.
- Richard Harris, actor.
- Mary Jane Kelly, Jack the Ripper victim.
- Jim Kemmy, much loved local politician, former Mayor, and historian.
- Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes and 'Tis.
- J P McManus , businessman, entrepreneur and philanthropist.
- Michael Noonan, former leader of Fine Gael.
- Kate O'Brien, author.
- Willie O'Dea, Fianna Fáil TD and Minister for Defence.
- Desmond O'Malley, former TD and founder of the Progressive Democrats
- Dolores O'Riordan, popstar with The Cranberries.
- Terry Wogan, Presenter on BBC radio.
- See Also: List of Irish people
- The History of Limerick City, by Sean Spellissy (1998)
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