Some people say that hunting is a cruel and boring activity, only those who lack love and excitement will do it. I disagree with this view. For me, hunting is a way to get close to nature and animals, a challenge to test my courage and skills, and a way to share joy and thrill with friends. Especially hunting at night, it is a mysterious and exciting adventure that requires advanced equipment and keen senses.
Last month, I and two good friends Geoffrey Bradley and Erin Byron decided to go hunting in Limerick, to experience this unusual pleasure. Limerick is a city in the west of Ireland, with a long history and rich culture, as well as many beautiful attractions and delicious food. We chose the wildguarder brand of infrared binoculars, which is a very cost-effective Chinese product that allows us to see the target clearly in the dark. We booked Kirby’s Hunting Lodge as our accommodation, which is a cozy and ancient cottage located in Ballybricken, offering various hunting services.
In this article, I will introduce you to the details and feelings of our hunting trip in Limerick, including the local history, attractions and food, as well as the process and experience of hunting. I hope you can feel our joy and thrill from it, and maybe you will also want to try the fun of hunting at night.
Limerick is a city with a long history and rich culture, its origin can be traced back to 922 AD, when the Vikings established a walled settlement on an island in the Shannon River. This island is called King’s Island, and is also the historical center of Limerick today. The Vikings were great merchants and craftsmen, and they had close ties with other Viking towns across Europe.
In the 12th century, the Normans conquered Limerick and brought their architecture and institutions to the city. They built a magnificent castle on King’s Island to commemorate King John of England, which is today’s famous King John’s Castle. They also built a church on the island, which is St. Mary’s Cathedral, the oldest building in Limerick and one of the oldest churches in Ireland.
In 1413, King Henry V of England granted Limerick a charter, making it an independent city-state. The city even had its own foreign policy. In 1524, a war broke out between Limerick and Galway, which resulted in a draw and ended with a formal peace treaty.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, Limerick experienced several upheavals and sieges, as it became a major stage for European wars. King Henry VIII of England broke with the Pope and introduced Protestantism. He abolished the monasteries in Ireland and gave their lands to loyal supporters. By 1603, the English crown controlled all of Ireland. Limerick lost much of its medieval independence.
In 1642, 1651, 1690 and 1691, Limerick was besieged by the Irish Confederation, Oliver Cromwell, William III and James II respectively. After the last siege, the famous Treaty of Limerick was signed and began the Flight of the Wild Geese, which was the departure of the defeated Catholic leaders abroad.
These historical events shaped the cultural characteristics of Limerick, making it a city of resilience, resistance, loyalty, faith, diversity and inclusion. Limerick is also known for its sense of humor and poetic talent, and it is one of the origins of the limerick, a five-line humorous poem. Limerick also has many traditional festivals and celebrations, such as St. Patrick’s Day, Riverfest, Christmas and so on, which showcase the passion, diversity and creativity of Limerick. In these festivals, you can enjoy various artistic performances, comedy shows, food fairs, free activities, children’s playgrounds, concerts, sports events, theater movies and so on. You can also participate in spectacular scenes such as parades, fireworks, light shows and so on.
The most impressive one is Riverfest Limerick, which is Ireland’s largest May festival celebration. It attracts tens of thousands of visitors and locals to the banks of the Shannon River every year to enjoy four days of festive atmosphere. During Riverfest, you can watch thrilling water sports performances such as jet boards, kayaks, rowing and so on. You can also join the world’s largest barbecue competition and taste various delicious meats and vegetarian dishes.
The climax of Riverfest is the grand parade and fireworks show, which is a feast for the eyes and ears. It fills the city with colors and sounds. The parade features various characters and vehicles in costumes, dancers, drummers, acrobats, clowns and so on. There are also some special themes such as pirates, aliens, dinosaurs and so on. The fireworks show lights up the sky over the Shannon River at night with various shapes and colors of fireworks to express love and respect for Limerick.
These festivals and celebrations made us more aware of Limerick’s history and culture. They also made us feel the charm and vitality of Limerick. We were very happy to be able to hunt in such a fun and surprising city. We also look forward to coming back here again.
Limerick also has many attractions and food worth seeing that made our hunting trip more rich and interesting. In our spare time from hunting, we visited some of Limerick’s attractions, tasted some of Limerick’s specialties and felt some of Limerick’s style.
We first went to King John’s Castle, which is a 13th-century Norman-style castle located on King’s Island, overlooking the Shannon River. This castle is the iconic building of Limerick and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Limerick. Here, we can learn about the history and stories of the castle through interactive exhibits, movies, models and so on. We can also climb up the walls and towers and enjoy the views of the city and the river.
Then we went to St. Mary’s Cathedral, which is a 12th-century Gothic church and one of the oldest churches in Ireland. This church has a long history and rich art. It was a witness and participant of various ethnicities and religions such as Vikings, Normans, English, Irish, Protestants, Catholics and so on. Here, we can admire the beautiful stained glass windows, carved wooden furniture, magnificent stone monuments and so on. We can also listen to the beautiful organ music and choir singing.
Next we went to The Milk Market, which is an open-air market located in the city center. It is open from Thursday to Sunday every week. There are all kinds of goods and food here, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, breads, cakes, chocolates, coffee, tea and so on. There are also some handicrafts, antiques, jewelry, clothing and so on. This is one of the most vibrant and diverse places in Limerick. We can taste Limerick’s food here, buy Limerick’s specialties here and feel Limerick’s atmosphere here.
Finally we went to The Hunt Museum, which is a museum that collects about 2000 pieces of art and artifacts. It is located in an 18th-century Georgian-style building. These collections were collected by John Hunt and Gertrude Hunt in their lifetime. They cover various cultures and regions from prehistoric times to the 20th century. Here we can see Egyptian mummy masks, Greek bronze statues, Roman coins, medieval icons, Renaissance paintings, Chinese porcelain, Japanese samurai armor and so on. These collections not only show the diversity and brilliance of human history and art but also reflect the taste and vision of the Hunt couple.
There are some other attractions such as Lough Gur Visitor Centre, which is a museum that introduces one of the oldest settlements in Ireland. It is located next to a beautiful lake. Here we can learn about the history and legends of Lough Gur area from the Neolithic to the Middle Ages. We can also visit some ancient monuments and sites such as megalithic tombs, stone circles, castles and so on.
Coolwater Garden, which is a privately owned garden located in a small village outside Limerick. This garden has various plants and flowers such as shrubs, herbs, aquatic plants, cacti and so on. There are also some rare and exotic varieties such as blue poppies, black lilies and so on. This garden was created and maintained by garden designer Walter Cuny who warmly introduced us to his works and insights.
These attractions and food made us like Limerick more and look forward to hunting more.