My fellow students and I are currently doing a marketing analysis on King John’s Castle in Limerick so we headed off to one of Limerick’s most popular attractions on Friday.
Before I even stepped inside the attraction, I knew good things were coming as it had its own car park! Finally, one Irish attraction that understands the importance of car parking facilities. King John’s is part of Shannon Heritage and was re opened after renovations in 2013. The result is an interactive experience that leaves visitors of all ages with positive memories.
As the only native English speaker in our group, I was interested to see what the two Chinese and Slovenian thought of the guides that you get at entry. Unfortunately, there are no Chinese language or Slovenian guides available so they had to take English. We did inquire as to the nationality of the most frequent visitors and were told that it was the French, Spanish, Germans and Americans. The other European visitors had audio guides with them so clearly multi lingual guides are available for selected languages.
Entry for students is 7 euro which is in line with most other attractions but you must show a student card. Although 3 of the 4 of us showed. UL. student cards at reception, one of our group hadn’t received his yet. Even though we were clearly together and clearly all students, the woman was having none of it and charged him for an adult ticket. I know rules are rules but we hardly picked this guy up randomly outside. A bit of common sense wouldn’t have gone astray.
When we got inside, that was all forgotten about and we proceeded on our self guided tour. You are initially brought through the early Gaelic society followed by the Normans in Limerick moving on to the Reformation before talking about the Sieges in Limerick in the 1600’s. It all sounds frightfully boring here but in reality, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The place is completely interactive. You can try on clothes, shoot cannons, complete quizzes and tasks on touch screens, watch movies, build walls and so on.
You are never too old to play dress up!
Cannon Shooting, harder than it looks!
I’m lead to believe that an actual person hangs out in here usually and is a great source of information but he must have been on break while we were around!
Then when you eventually finish with the indoor activities, you can go outside and see where the Smiths, Masons and so used to work. It is also possible to climb to the top of the castle walls and enjoy an unobstructed view of Limerick.
All in all, what did I think?
Personally, I had a lot of fun and I think that this attraction has a lot of potential. It’s definitely worth a visit and would be a great day out for a family. We spent over two hours there and we noticed that the people who came in at the same time as us were there after the two hour mark also.
I did find it very interesting to go there with my International friends. Over lunch afterward, they mentioned that while they enjoyed it, the language was still a big factor. Although, it’s a hands on experience, unless you can read the English on the walls, it may not be as enjoyable. But as we said ourselves, how can you make an attraction enjoyable for every language Perhaps, you can’t.
You can find out more about King John’s on their website, http://www.shannonheritage.com/kingjohnscastle
A big shout out goes to the students in M.A. International Tourism in U.L. As ever, leave your comments and questions below!