Most of county Limerick is low and undulating land, particularly in its eastern part, that is included in the rich plain called "the Golden Vale". To the west, south and north-eastern borders, there are considerable elevations, and in the south-east, the Galtee Mountains reach this county from its neighbour Tipperary. The county spreads around the mouth of the Shannon, Ireland's longest river.
The main attraction is Limerick, a historic city with many interesting features, and, at the same time, an important port and industrial centre. Limerick is Ireland's third largest city, and it is built on the Shannon, where it meets the Atlantic.
King John's Castle in Limerick is one of the finest examples of Norman defensive architecture in the world. It is situated on King's Island and it has an informative centre that presents many aspects of the history and social life of Limerick.
The Hunt Museum is also a must-see, as it houses an internationally important collection of nearly 2,000 pieces, the lifetime work of John and Gertrude Hunt, who selected them using various criteria. The museum houses a fine collection of Irish and European religious art and one of the finest collection of antiquities in Europe. Rare items can be seen here, dating from the Stone Age up to the present day.
Limerick has an ever-growing connection with classical music, thanks to the University of Limerick. The University of Limerick concert hall is the finest in the whole country, and the University also houses the Irish Chamber Orchestra and the Irish World Music Centre. The latter covers a much broader range than strictly classical music; its original focus was Irish music and it has come to encompass ethnomusicology (music from different traditions), ethnochoreology (the study of dance from different traditions) and everything from Classical String performance to Chant and Ritual song. The centre brings together the Daghada Dance Company, Ionad an Amhráin (The song centre), The Performing Arts Lab, The Irish Music Summer School and the Lucernarium chant choir. As a result, even though the activity is generally quieter during the summer months, the performances continue all year round, providing a veritable feast of music diversity.
The rest of the county is made up of quiet towns and villages. Adare is known as "the Prettiest Town in Ireland". For an even more genuine atmosphere, there's Hospital, named for the crusading Knights Hospitalier, who also left the archaeologically important cathedral behind. Loch Gur is the place where some of the earliest inhabitants of the island lived. The legend has it that Gearóid, the Fourth Earl of Desmond, still rides here at times. This is also one of the most beautiful regions in the county. Pallasgreen is another quaint town, where the old English Barracks still stand abandoned, and a few miles outside the town, Sarsfield's Rock can be visited.
Limerick has many other historical places all over the county, including the greatest number of standing and ruined castles in Ireland. Among these are the Askeaton Castle and Franciscan Friary, Castle Matrix in Rathkeale, Desmond Castle - Newcastle West, Glenquin Castle in Kileedy, Glin Castle and Gardens, Springfield Castle and Deer Centre in Dromcollogher, to name just a few.
The county is quiet and beautiful, and has much to offer to the angler and golfer, together with some of the finest hunting in Ireland. There are plenty of heritage centres (Adare, Ardagh, Glin) and open farms (Rivendell Open Farm in Ballingary) to visit.