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Ireland: Destination Guides

The ultimate student guide to Limerick

Limerick sits at the heart of Ireland’s west and is often thought of as a mini-Dublin, with imposing castles, cathedrals, and attractive Georgian streets.

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Stretched across the longest river in Ireland, the River Shannon, Limerick is a city with history at its centre, both spiritually and physically – with the gigantic King John’s Castle dominating the skyline.


The city is separated into several areas, including the so-called English town, which is built on an island in the middle of the River Shannon, and the Irish town. This separation is left over from the 10th century when Viking raiders set up a walled town where the English town now stands. You won’t find much separation today, as this diverse city offers plenty to see and do across all of its vibrant neighbourhoods.


In 2014 Limerick was awarded the first-ever Irish City of Culture title and has since continued to innovate and create, in part due to its active universities, energetic student population and significant investment in the city. Today you can enjoy contemporary waterfront pathways and boardwalks, renovated historic sites and new cafes, bars, galleries and restaurants that spring up every day.


Limerick is perfectly located if you want to explore Ireland. With Cork and Galway less than 90 minutes away by car, the west coast of Ireland and its world-famous Wild Atlantic Way is at your feet. Dublin is also just over two hours away, so you can still enjoy everything the capital offers while benefiting from Limerick’s relatively low cost of living.


Find out what Ireland has to offer international students.



What is Limerick like?


Location and demographics

Limerick is a city of almost 100,000 and is found in the southern region of Ireland, inland from the wild west coast on the banks of the River Shannon. It’s about mid-way between Galway to the north, and Cork to the south, making it a perfect base for exploring the west. Limerick is the third-largest city in Ireland and is increasingly diverse, with many different ethnicities calling it home. Significant groups include English, Poland, and Lithuania.


You can research what it takes to get a student visa in Ireland and how to qualify for a post-study work visa


Culture and history 

Limerick has been inhabited for hundreds of years, and there are records of Viking raids in the city during the 9th century. The Vikings used the city for many years as a base for further attacks. It was held by the English throughout the medieval and renaissance period and was known for the strength of its fortress. It is a hub for the fishing industry, especially salmon. Today, Limerick is a diverse and vibrant city that attracts tourists and students alike from around the world.


Find out how you can apply to study in Ireland


Which universities are in Limerick?


Limerick can offer you the choice of several internationally-renowned universities for your studies in Ireland. The University of Limerick is the leading institution in the city, ranking in the top 550 institutions globally according to QS World University Rankings 2023It has a student population of 15,000 students and is known for its international outlook and research excellence. It’s also popular due to its co-operative education programmes, seeing thousands of its students take valuable work placements within their degrees.


The Limerick Institute of Technology is the oldest technological institute in the country, having been established in 1852. With 7,000 students, it’s also one of the biggest, supporting a wide range of applied and vocational degree programmes designed to launch successful careers. Broad industry partnerships and top-ranking courses in areas like fashion design make this a popular choice for students of all nationalities.


Mary Immaculate College is also based in Limerick and hosts more than 500 international students every year, within a small but vibrant student community. The college benefits from a rich network of partnerships with dozens of institutions globally and offers excellent English language courses.


Explore more universities in Ireland


What does Limerick offer students?


What transport is there?

You’ll be able to get around Limerick easily as it’s a small city, but it's packed with things to do. Major attractions, shops and university campuses are all within easy walking or cycling distance of each other. For longer journeys, you can rely on the public bus network. Shannon International Airport is just 24km from the city, making arriving or travelling a breeze.


What about entertainment and food?

As Ireland’s third-largest city, Limerick has a rapidly growing food scene supported by the city’s ongoing commitment to regeneration. The beating heart of Limerick’s food and drink is the historic Milk Market, linking the city to the rich agricultural lands around it. When you aren’t enjoying incredible local cuisine or world food, you can explore the dozens of pubs, cafes and entertainment venues that dot the city.


Read more about the top five things you can do in Ireland.


Is there accommodation?

There are all sorts of student accommodation to choose from as a student in Limerick, so you can find the perfect place to live according to your budget, lifestyle and preferences. Whether you’re looking for a city centre apartment, a privately rented place in one of the city’s neighbourhoods, or sociable on-campus halls through your university, Limerick has it all and is never more than a short distance away.


Are there public services for students?

As an international student living in Ireland, you’ll be able to use a range of services and resources offered through your university. This is monitored and supported by the Irish Council for International Students to ensure your rights are protected. You may also be eligible to work in Ireland during your studies or as a graduate.


How much does it cost to live in Limerick?


The general cost of the city

You’ll be able to take your student budget further in Limerick, as it’s significantly cheaper than other cities like Dublin, Ireland’s capital. It’s even cheaper than other cities in the west of the country, like Galway, making it one of the best value-for-money student cities in the country.


Find out how much tuition fees in Ireland cost


Student budget

As a single international student living in Limerick, you could expect to spend between EUR 125 and EUR 300 per week. This includes rent, utilities, food, transportation, and other living costs. Your budget will vary depending on your living arrangements, lifestyle, activities, and where in Limerick you live.


Get more information on the cost of living in Ireland


Financial requirements

The Irish government asks that international students demonstrate that they have at least EUR 7,000 accessible for the first year of their studies and evidence of access to a further EUR 7,000 for each additional year of study. Evidence of an equivalent value scholarship or sponsorship from a family member is also valid. 


Our guide to the top scholarships in Ireland may help if you need financial aid. 


What are the main attractions in Limerick?


Limerick continues to enjoy its renaissance as a tourist destination, with a thriving artistic community and regeneration of its city centre combined with famous historical sites.


The city has a historic Medieval Quarter, home to places like King John’s Castle. This imposing fortress has long been one of the strongest in Europe, protecting the city from attackers for hundreds of years. Today you can visit it on the banks of the River Shannon and get involved in anything from sword-fighting demonstrations to interactive exhibitions that explore the city’s past.


Thomond Park Stadium is one of Ireland’s foremost rugby grounds and hosts regular games, where you can join thousands of locals most weekends. 


Cathedrals, bustling local food markets and an endless array of traditional pubs make Limerick a great place to immerse yourself in Ireland. Like other major cities in the country, Limerick has an energetic live music scene that spans everything from traditional folk to modern madness.


Limerick is a great city for nature lovers, as when you’re not kayaking down the River Shannon and taking in the sights, you can strike out of the city in any direction for outdoor adventure. Hiking and cycling through the rugged Irish landscape is easy, and you’ll come across treasures like the dramatic Cliffs of Moher, desolate Aran Islands and various castles nearby.


Limerick is one of Ireland’s most affordable cities, but still offers a truly Irish study experience with historic monuments dominating the city centre and a thriving art and cultural scene. Don’t forget that you can find your ideal study path in Ireland using our course matcher tool

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