Munster rugby, hurling, horseracing, golf – you name the sport, Limerick has something to offer.
The people of Limerick make a solid claim for the city as Ireland’s sporting capital. The Rebels down the road in Cork may disagree but if you are interested in the sporting life then Limerick has it all.
It’s not all sport, Dolores O’Riordan and the Cranberries, the Rubberbandits, two Irish presidents in Eamon De Valera and Michael D Higgins hail from Limerick.
Home of Rugby in Limerick
Munster rugby is known throughout the rugby world for their Heineken Cup exploits and for the passion in the fortress that is Thomond Park in Limerick. Their most famous hour came in 1978 at home against the all-conquering All Blacks touring party.
The New Zealanders completed the northern hemisphere tour winning every match except one. Against Munster. On 31 October 1978 at Thomond Park, Munster became the only Irish side ever to beat the All Blacks.
The 12–0 victory took place, in front of a crowd of 12,000 souls. Many thousands more claim to have been there. The match has since gone down in folklore, partly because of the result and partly because there was no television coverage. It has since been immortalized in a stage play Alone it Stands and a book Stand up and Fight. In Limerick you can visit Thomond Park, now redeveloped, and sample the atmosphere in the museum or if you are lucky enough you can get along to a match.
In 2013 Limerick won the Munster hurling championship, perhaps the toughest hurling competition in Ireland to win and subsequently lost in the All Ireland semi final to eventual winners and neighbours Clare. They returned to the All Ireland in 2014 contesting an epic match in apocalyptic weather to eventual champions Kilkenny.
Limerick’s Gaelic Grounds stadium is home to Limerick GAA, both football and hurling. In Sundays in the spring and summer you can take in a match. Limerick is one of Ireland’s leading hurling counties and has enjoyed a resurgence in fortunes in recent years.
Irish horse racing legend JP McManus hails from Limerick and served his apprenticeship at Limerick racetrack. There are regular meetings at Limerick Races with quality horses. And you never know who you might meet there.
The other great passion in Limerick is golf and in the city you are within easy reach of Adare Manor and Castletroy. Courses like Lahinch and Ballybunion require more effort but if you are keen enough to go they will reward your enthusiasm.