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Historic Limerick

Following a commission from Limerick's Live 95FM, we brought the former Director of the National Museum of Ireland, Dr. Pat Wallace, home to his native county, to tour incredible locations, spanning the beginnings of recorded time, through the coming of the Vikings and Normans and right up to the 20th Century.

In the company of local people who know and love the sites, we went on location to explore the physical remains, histories, stories and wider significance of Limerick's rich heritage. We sniff centuries-old gun powder, discover medieval doorways hidden away in cobwebbed towers and hunt out beautiful examples of craftsmanship which have put Limerick on the map for centuries.

Sites included in the series include: the town walls and priory of Kilmallock, the restored Desmond Hall of Newcastle West, Lough Gur, Askeaton St Mary’s Cathedral, and Georgian Limerick. First broadcast on Limerick's Live 95FM between February - August 2014. Funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Television Licence Fee.

Programme 1 - John’s Castle, Limerick City

Dr Pat Wallace and Diarmuid McIntyre explore the 13th century fortification, the heart of Limerick city's medieval quarter. From the remains of Viking houses in the castle's basement, through the lively courtyard, with its historical re-enactors to the imposing turrets, from which they survey the mighty Shannon and the city ranged around, Diarmuid and Pat discuss the clues to Limerick's military and social history which the castle holds.

Programme 2 - City Walls & Limerick City Museum

Diarmuid McIntyre and Dr Pat Wallace explore Limerick's medieval walls along Island Road and take a trip to the city museum to meet curator, Brian Hodkinson. While discussing the significance of the walls during the many sieges of Limerick, Diarmuid and Pat also discover a piece of archaeological treasure unearthed along the banks of the Abbey River - a siege cannonball, with its gunpowder still inside!

Programme 3 - St Mary's Cathedral

Dr Pat Wallace and Diarmuid McIntyre visit St Mary's Cathedral alongside the present dean, Dr Sandra Pragnall and the cathedral's guide, Noreen Ellerker. Along the way they admire the cathedral's many special features including the historic alter stone, the Lepers' Squint and most especially, the rare and richly decorated, misericords.

Programme 4 - Reerasta Ringfort and the Ardagh Chalice

Diarmuid McIntyre and Dr Pat Wallace travel to Reerasta in West Limerick to visit the site where one of Ireland's greatest treasures was unearthed - the Ardagh Chalice. They are joined by archaeologist and local man, Damien Shiels, who tells the story of this incredible find by two youngsters digging potatoes.

Programme 5 - Kilmallock

Dr Pat Wallace and Diarmuid McIntyre explore the walled town of Kilmallock in South Limerick - a town with a rich and present history dating back to medieval times. They view the town's many ruins in the company of Limerick City & County Council Executive Archaeologist Sarah McCutcheon and hear how the attempts of the rich to buy their way into heaven led to the ruin of its beautiful Dominican Priory.

Programme 6 - Desmond Castle, Newcastle West

Diarmuid McIntyre and Dr Pat Wallace head to Desmond Castle in Newcastle West, where there are two medieval banqueting halls, one of which was briefly the town's cinema. They are accompanied on their tour by site manager, Dr Padraig O'Ruairc.

Programme 7 - Lough Gur

Dr Pat Wallace and Diarmuid McIntyre visit the rich historical landscape around Lough Gur, with local woman Aine Barry, discovering its neolithic, bronze age and early Christian remains. They also stand in the centre of Ireland's largest stone circle at Grange.

Programme 8 - Georgian Limerick

Diarmuid McIntyre and Dr Pat Wallace head to the terraces of Georgian Limerick, the result of an economic boom with echoes of the Celtic Tiger, and with a similar impact on the streetscape of Limerick city. They visit the home of Limerick City of Culture, a particularly fine example of the mansions of the period, No 2 Pery Square.

Programme 9 - Cush

Dr Pat Wallace and Diarmuid McIntyre make the climb, high above the plains of Limerick, to the extraordinary complex of Cush, near Ballinvreena. In the company of archaeologist Michael Monk, they explore the burial mounds of a bronze age cemetery, later used to build one of Ireland's largest collections of ring forts.

Programme 10 - Shannongrove

Diarmuid McIntyre and Dr Pat Wallace head west on the N69 to celebrate the Shannongrove Gorget and how it acts as Limerick's ambassador to the world.

Programme 11 - Askeaton

Dr Pat Wallace and Diarmuid McIntyre head to Dr Wallace's hometown - Askeaton - to explore its many and varied historic features in the company of local guide Anthony Sheehy and OPW stonemason John Moone, stopping at the spectacular Friary, hidden doorways, medieval toilets and the hellfire club.

Programme 12 - Shanid

Diarmuid McIntyre and Dr Pat Wallace visit a nunnery near Shanagolden before scaling the dramatic heights of Shanid Castle alongside members of the local historical society.