Limerick city, the third largest city in Ireland and one of the oldest – founded in 922 AD by Vikings – is a place of many benefits. From having, according to the Central Statistics Office, the highest disposable income outside of Dublin, easy access to schools, leisure activities and transport, it is also the most affordable of the four largest cities in Ireland for rent and house purchase prices, says Dr Pat Daly, chief executive of Limerick City and County Council.
“Commute times to work are much lower in Limerick than in the rest of the country, with two-thirds of the working population travelling to work in less than 30 minutes,” he says. “Professionals who moved to the midwest for career opportunities are – according to the Mid-West Relocation Survey – much happier with their location and 72 per cent said they now have a better balance between their working and home lives.
“The quality of life achievable in Limerick is second to none,” says Daly. “Limerick is a quieter city with low congestion and easy commuting. Arts, culture, history, sport and music are all here in abundance.”
He says the city is packed with attractions that cater for those seeking robust outdoor activity to a more laid-back leisurely option, and is also a gateway to the Wild Atlantic Way, with easy access to the Cliffs of Moher, The Burren, Killarney National Park and the Dingle Peninsula.
“The Limerick Greenway has been hugely successful since it opened last year, and attractions and locations are continuing to be improved and developed along the route to take advantage of visitors numbers.”
Limerick is home to a number of companies that are hiring from within the area, but also attracting talent to the city.
“The mix of significant buy-in from employers across Limerick for blended working and strong broadband connectivity also adds to the quality of life for residents, giving them more time for family and fun, including exploring the natural hinterland.”
Limerick’s recognition as a pro-business city is very much underpinned by its talent pipeline, says Daly. “With an immediate catchment of one million people living within a 90-minute drive, its third-level graduate supply amounts to 6,000 students annually emerging from its three institutions, University of Limerick [UL], Technological University of the Shannon Midlands Midwest [TUS] and Mary Immaculate College, with degrees across areas such as IT, life sciences, business administration, engineering and technology.”
Plans for the city
Daly says the focus of Limerick City Council is to attract more people to live and work in the city. “We are looking at our public realm to ensure that we provide our citizens with the best quality locations where they can relax and recharge.
“Our premiere street, O’Connell Street, is undergoing revitalisation works and this will lead to greater space for pedestrians and public and active travel to make it a destination location as opposed to a thoroughfare. Nearby People’s Park, Westfield Wetlands, Baggot Estate and the UL campus are amenities which attract thousands of people relaxing, out for a stroll or a run.”
Limerick has received more than €100 million to create a waterfront that “will be the envy of other cities in the country”, he says. “This will link our new Cleeves quarter to the heart of the city centre and on to our Medieval Quarter by King John’s Castle.”
Other public realm works include the development of the opera site and the Land Development Agency is master-planning a new Colbert quarter centred around the train station and bus station. The focus will be on providing a high-quality public realm and other infrastructure for the people of Limerick.
Daly says climate action and climate mitigation are issues affecting all parts of Ireland and Limerick is no different. Significant resources are being put into flood relief works to protect the city from future flooding.
“Plans have been submitted for a flood relief scheme around the historic King’s Island that will be sympathetic to the surroundings. Further plans are being designed for the greater Limerick city area to protect businesses and homes from flooding.”