'Let Limerick Surprise You' is the city’s new slogan and it certainly will.

With a Royal Charter older than the city of London itself, it began life as a Viking settlement on a small island in the Shannon river during the 9th century. It later became the walled medieval stronghold of Brian Boru and the high kings of Munster and Thomond before being invaded by the Normans in 12th century.

As you can imagine, Limerick has seen its share of turbulent times since, both socially, as documented by the late Frank McCourt and architecturally, in the fine Georgian area of Pery Square with the result that there is a lot to see and do here in Ireland's third largest city which is enjoying its 21st century renaissance.

Limerick is the undisputed sporting capital of Ireland, with Munster Rugby legends forming the backbone of the Ireland's International Rugby Team, it also has its 'soft' side being the home of RTE Lyric FM, Ireland’s much loved and only classical music radio station.

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There’s a vibrant arts culture and up and coming foodie destination spearheaded by the artisan producers at the Milk Market. And in between all that there is a serious amount of noteworthy architecture from King John's Castle to the ancient St Mary’s Cathedral and newly renovated, Gallery of Art in the Peoples Park, as well as my own personal favorite the Hunt Museum, in the Customs House. As well as plenty of smart new hotels, shops, bars, restaurants, and walkways.

The St Patrick's Day Parade in Limerick is the second largest in Ireland after Dublin, now in its 40th year it starts at 2.30 from O'Connell St.

On Sunday the 18th Limerick will host the 42 International Band Competitions with visiting bands participating from all over the world, so expect plenty of music, color and excitement.

For more details on all of the St Patricks Festival events happening in Limerick next weekend click here.

For more things to do and see in Limerick and the surrounding areas click here.