Championing the underdog

December 7, 2010

Working in travel-related public relations affords you plenty of opportunities to promote exciting and exotic destinations around the world. But there is always a little piece of you that wants to see your home town do well, especially one such as Limerick…that is much maligned.

Set out to the west of Ireland, and typically off the well-worn tourist path that incorporates Kerry and Cork, the only glimpse many people get of Limerick is as they are driven from Shannon Airport towards the Ring of Kerry. But has Limerick actually got anything to offer and tempt people to stick around for a few days?

Surprisingly enough, there is plenty to keep people interested. The Hunt Museum has a stunning Leonardo Da Vinci bronze horse amongst its treasures; King John’s Castle, majestically overlooking the River Shannon is almost 800 years old with an informative visitor’s centre; and Munster, twice European rugby champions, play most of their matches at the atmospheric Thomond Park (where the atmosphere takes on greater meaning when the English come to town!). Never mind the traditional pubs and excellent university which has a top-notch concert hall that attracts impressive acts.

Slightly further afield is Foynes, which has two claims to fame. First, it was one of the world’s major airports for flying boats in the 1930s and 1940s (personally chosen by Charles Lindbergh) and is now home to a fascinating flying boat museum. Secondly, Foynes was the place where Irish Coffee was invented…to keep cold passengers warm before their flights!

Keeping the aeronautical theme is Shannon Airport (technically in County Clare, but we still claim it as our own, mainly just to annoy Clare people). Now a shadow of its former self, this was once the major gateway between Europe and the USA and where duty free was invented. Our aviation pioneers were an enterprising lot, as you can tell!

Limerick – and its environs – is an interesting place, and you don’t have to scratch too far beneath the surface to enjoy it, so give it a try for something a little different. Ian Bradley.