Friday, October 28, 2011

King John's Castle (11142219)

I was on the bus home from college last week and as the bus was passing through the city I was keeping a look out for interesting buildings which I could have wrote about for this assignment. When passing over the Thomond Bridge I noticed a very big, old castle alongside it. I took the bus back up to limerick on Sunday evening and visited the college library the next morning to see if I could find the castle I saw. So I searched “castles in limerick city” on Google and was very surprised to see about 10 million results to my search. Luckily, the castle I was looking for showed up first on the first page of results. The castle is called King John’s Castle and it was clear from the different websites that it has quite a lot of history to it.

The next day me and my housemate went into the city to visit the castle. When we got there, there was quite a lot of people outside the grounds of the castle taking pictures and after standing around them for just a few minutes we could tell they were tourists because of their accents. After witnessing all this it was clear that King John’s Castle is quite a popular tourist location but after seeing the castle first hand and after getting a more in-depth knowledge of the castles history from a trip to the visitor’s centre it was no surprise.
The staff of the visitor’s centre were happy to help anyone out, and offered tours of the castle however I felt I picked up enough information from the posters on the walls and leaflets lying around. The first permanent stronghold built on the same grounds of what is now known as King John’s castle was in fact built by Limerick Vikings, who were lead by Thormodr Helgasen the Viking Sea-King, in the late 10th Century. They used the stronghold as a base to raid the length of the river Shannon but were defeated a number of times and eventually had to pay tribute to the King of Munster.

In 1174 the city was then burned to the ground due to the arrival of the Anglo-Normans and soon after they took control of the whole area. Under the orders of King John in 1200 a new castle was built over the ruins of the first one. Today the 800 year old castle still stands strong despite the numerous amounts of seiges and attacks it came under.

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