King John Castle:  10 Must-Know Facts About This Lovely Irish Landmark

King John Castle rises proudly above Munster Province and County Limerick.  The Castle is located in Southwest Ireland, but it is still easily reached by car from the Dublin Airport. 

Irish Expressions - King John Castle

The journey of approximately two hours starts by getting on M7 for about 90 minutes and then veering onto R445 until you reach the city center of Limerick and spot the signs leading to the parking area for the Castle.   

Things to Know About King John Castle

Here are some fun facts about this amazing Irish landmark.  Hopefully they will entice you to pay a visit in person!

But if that is not possible, you can always use them to impress your friends with your knowledge of one of the most-visited attractions in Ireland.

  • Although it was built in the year 1200, it is one of the best-preserved Norman castles in all of Europe.
  • Multiple stone watchtowers and an enormous wall helped protect the castle and its inhabitants from several major sieges throughout history.
  • Today, the castle grounds contain a museum, an extensive visitor's center and even an onsite cafe with views over the River Shannon.
  • Guided tours of the castle's interior are available, which gives you the chance to walk atop the castle's stone walls.
  • As far back as the 10th century, Vikings lived on King's Island. By the beginning of the 13th century, King John himself ordered that a grand castle be built on the island.
  • The location of the castle, and the Viking settlement before it, was chosen for its proximity to water. From King's Island, residents could raid the length of the River Shannon and better protect itself from invasion.
  • King John Castle is largely responsible for the growth of Limerick. With the castle keeping watch over the area, local residents could thrive and prosper without fear of war. 
  • The city of Limerick became incredibly wealthy. In fact, a mint was set up within the castle so that currency could be made right onsite. 
  • The Castle is designed to withstand sieges. However, the 1642 Siege of Limerick was so severe that it caused permanent damage to the castle walls. Invading forces couldn't penetrate the walls, so they dug through the foundation!
  • Today, the castle is open to the public. It is a major attraction in Limerick and a worthwhile stop for all ages.
  • A great place to start your visit to is by climbing up to the battlements. You'll be treated to a 360-degree view over the castle as well as the surrounding city.
  • The castle itself has been restored carefully. You can walk up and down the stairs, explore many of the rooms and get a feel for what life was life in centuries past. 
  • Costumed staff stroll the halls of the castle. They act as carpenters, make coins at the castle mint and show visitors some of the medieval skills that were once part of everyday life on King's Island.
  • Take time to speak to those in period costumes. They are happy to share historical facts about the castle, but they will also share gossip about its residents!

You can find more information about this lovely Irish landmark here.

Want More Irish Castles?

It is probably obvious - at Irish Expressions, we love Irish castles!  The Emerald Isle is dotted with hundreds of these incredible structures.  

Sharing pictures and stories about them gives us a deeper sense of connection with Ireland, wherever in the world we happen to be!

We have captured the most amazing pictures and descriptions of Irish castles in an e-book we call "An Illustrated Guide to Irish Castles and Abbeys."

This fun, free guide is available to you to download.  Scroll to the bottom of this page to get instant access!

Then please send us a note or connect with us on Facebook, and let us know what you think!

That Was Fun!  Where Can I Learn More?

Great question! As you can see, exploring the castles of Ireland offers many opportunities for enjoying an Irish experience and expressing your personal Irish side!

For more information of this kind, you might pay a visit to our section on Ireland Sightseeing here!

In the meantime, if you enjoyed this page in particular, please take a moment to share your feedback about it, or any other part of our site, using our contact form here. 

And once again - thanks for visiting!  We hope you will continue to share your Irish side with the growing community at Irish!

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