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The city of Limerick, situated in County Limerick, in Ireland's mid-west region on the banks of the River Shannon. An early settlement was pillaged by Vikings in the year 812. Having sailed up the Shannon, they not only pillaged the city, but the also burned down the monastery. The Irish settlers fought back, killing many of the looters and forcing the Vikings to flee.

The Norsemen returned around 922 and established Limerick as one of the principal towns of their kingdom, using the settlement as a home base while they attacked monasteries. In 968, the Irish captured Limerick, killing many of the Viking settlers in the process. In 969, the Vikings recaptured Limerick. Early in the eleventh century, the Irish captured Limerick once again. Over time, those Vikings who remained were assimilated into Ireland and the Irish culture. The small town thrived, with craftsmen making traditional Vikings like combs which were made from bone. There were also carpenters, blacksmiths, and potters.

From 1106, Limerick was the seat of the kings of Thomond, until the Normans (English) took it away. From the twelfth to the fourteenth centuries were a tug-of-war between the Gaels and the Normans to retake Limerick. In 1194, the Normans conquered Limerick, and in 1197, Richard I of England granted a charter to the town. King John's Castle was constructed in ten years, beginning in 1200. Limerick Castle and Thomond Bridge were built during the same time period. A convent was established in 1171.

English settlers arrived in Limerick, most of whom settled on Kings Island in Englishtown, while the Irish were moved to Irishtown across the Abbey River. In the thirteenth century, a stone wall was built around Englishtown, and in the fifteenth century, the walls were extended in order to include Irishtown.

In 1315, the Scottish tried to take over Ireland, and in 1316, King Robert's brother Edward Bruce was successful in capturing Limerick. The victory did not last long, as in 1318, the English army retook the city, killing Edward Bruce in the process.

In 1641, the Irish Rebellion exploded across the nation. About 600 English Protestants fleeing the fighting arrived in Limerick. The citizens of Limerick, most of whom were Catholic and who supported the Catholic Confederacy apprised the Confederacy in Kilkenny of the situation and appealed to the to to capture the Castle and the Protestants who were living there. In 1642, the Irish military which was about 1,500 soldiers strong, entered Limerick and cut off all food and water from the Protestants. The Protestants fled back into King John's Castle, where they remained for a month until they realized that the Irish were digging into the castle from the outside, likely in order to set fire to the wooden supports which would collapse the walls. At that time, the Protestants, many of whom were diseased or wounded and all of whom were starving, surrendered to the Irish Confederacy. The 400 survivors were taken to Dublin.

In 1649, Oliver Cromwell began his campaign to retake Ireland. The English army arrived in Limerick but were unable to penetrate the city's defenses, so they set up a blockade. The plague swept through Limerick, killing many of the Irish defenders, but even so, they held out for five months before they were forced to surrender. Several Irishmen, those who the English accused of prolonging the battles by refusing to accept terms of a surrender earlier, were executed. There were four other sieges in Limerick during the seventeenth century. For seven decades after the siege, Limerick was a fortress. Soldiers patrolled the walls, and the gates were locked after dark and on Sundays. In 1760, the medieval walls were demolished, per the terms of the Treaty of Limerick, which declared that it was no longer a garrison town.

The 19th century was a time of building and saw the erection of some of the more important buildings, including he Town Hall in 1803, the County Court House in 1810, Limerick's first hospital in 1811, Limerick Gaol in 1821, Sarsfield Bridge in 1827, Villiers Alms House and Barringtons Hospital both in 1830, Limerick Potato Market in 1843, and St. John's Cathedral in 1859.

At the turn of the 20th century, Limerick, with its population of 38,000, was primarily an agricultural town, and the primary industry was food processing , though later in the century, tourism was the main industry. In the 1990s, many of the buildings in Limerick were refurbished, largely due to the tourist traffic. Kings Island was entirely refurbished, as was the Steamboat Quay which also had a hotel and apartments added on. Both Abbey Bridge and the Georgian House opened in 1999. At the turn of the 21st century, the population had grown to 94,000.

 

 

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