King John (1166-1216) gave orders to build Limerick Castle on his visit to Ireland in 1210, as a Norman stronghold at the fording of the river Shannon.
Preoccupied with conflicts elsewhere, the king died six years later and never got to set foot in the castle himself.
Irish castle became known as ‘King John’s Castle’ only hundreds of years
after the kings’ death.
many other castles, King John's Castle, too, was built on the site of a
pre-existing fortification. At Limerick this was a ‘ring work’, which was
a stone and earthwork embankment surrounded by a ditch. The remains of
this earlier fort were discovered by archaeologists during the excavation
of the castle courtyard.
also discovered the remains of pre-Norman houses and defences from the
Viking era on the site.
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