Castle History

Welcome to King John's Castle, Limerick's most iconic building & best loved visitor attraction.

Bringing over 800 years of local history to life, a visit to King John's Castle is a must when visiting Limerick City.
The castle itself has a turbluent history dating back to Viking times and has undergone several sieges, battles and triumphs over its long history. 

The site on which the Castle stands has been occupied for over 1000 years.

A number of houses believed to be viking in origin were uneartherd during earlier restorations of the Castle. Elements of these dwellings and some artefacts found on site can be seen at King John's Castle visitors centre.

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Viking History

Norman History

The Pre-Norman features discovered are both defensive and settlement.

Extensive evidence of an early defense system and of a strong earthen rampart, held together with limestone boulders and protected by a deep ditch, show that King John’s Castle was built on an existing fortification.

King John’s Castle retains many of the pioneering features, which made its construction unique for the day. Its massive gate house, battlements and corner towers await your exploration while the armoury and its contents remain as evidence of its turbulent history

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King John was the brother of Richard the Lionheart, associated with legends such as Robin Hood and the Knights’ of the Round Table.

John, Lord of Ireland, though not as popular as his brother, was a formidable force in battle and when he set about claiming territory in Ireland, he certainly made his mark in Limerick.

Not only was the site used for defensive purposes, King John, as “Lord of Ireland” minted his own coins and the Royal moneyer would have struck the coins in the Castle mint.  Before 1200 there were large earthen defences erected on high ground to defend the river crossing. Between 1200 and 1212 King John’s Castle was planned and built. In the following centuries it was repaired and extended many times.

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King John