The nights can get darker earlier and the weather can get colder, but for anyone planning a visit to Munster Vales during the winter months there is still plenty to do and see in the area.
Munster Vales, the region encompassing the Comeragh, Knockmealdown, Galtee, Ballyhoura and Nagles mountain ranges in southern Ireland, has several fascinating museums and heritage sites where you can learn all about the history of the region.
We’ve outlined just a few of the many great places you can visit during the winter months for an entertaining and educational break.
The Tipperary Hidden History Museum, Tipperary
Located in the Clonmel Civic Center in Tipperary, this state-of-the-art visitor experience brings Tipperary’s rich hidden history to life through characters and stories. Founded in the 1940s, visitors can immerse themselves in stories of castles and conquests, courage, superstition, murder and death. You can also learn all about rural life in Tipperary in the 19th century and ‘meet’ a host of characters from the worlds of sport and entertainment. The collection is also one of the largest museum collections in Ireland.
The Valera Museum and Bruree Heritage Centre, Limerick
The Éamon de Valera Museum and Bruree Heritage Center is a must-see museum for anyone interested in politics. The museum contains a unique and fascinating collection of de Valera’s personal effects, as well as a variety of items that chronicle life in Bruree in the early 20th century. Located where Éamon de Valera grew up, the Visitor Center uses audiovisuals, graphic panels and story displays of personal memories to tell his fascinating story. The cottage where he once lived is now preserved and the national school he attended is also now a museum dedicated to his memory.
Thomas Fitzgerald Museum, Limerick
Also in Limerick is the Thomas Fitzgerald Museum in Bruff. Thomas Fitzgerald was the grandfather of John F. Kennedy and this museum is dedicated to his memory and the world famous family. The museum includes a photo exhibit from when JFK visited Limerick in 1963, the Fitzgerald family tree mural and an exhibit from Caroline Kennedy’s visit in 2013. There is also a life-size bronze statue of JFK and, interestingly, the bible that this is part of the statue is the one that Thomas Kennedy brought with him in 1852 when he emigrated from Bruff to Boston! The Visitor Center is definitely a must see for anyone interested in the Kennedy family and discovering their connection to the area.
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Lismore Heritage Centre, Waterford
Located in the Old Courthouse, the Lismore Heritage Center gives you the chance to virtually explore Lismore Castle and learn all about its fascinating history with the brilliant Lismore Castle Experience. You might not know that the castle was once the home of Broadway performer, Adele Astaire and Kathleen Kennedy, sister of John F. Kennedy. Also be sure to take the guided tour of Lismore town where you can learn all about the Viking invasions and the 12th century Roundhill Norman settlement of Lismore. Another highlight is the Robert Boyle Escape Room where you can see if you can help the famous scientist solve some of the most puzzling scientific questions.
Birthplace of Nano Nagle, Liège
If you’re looking for a place to unwind from the stresses of modern life, a visit to the birthplace of Nano Nagles might be what you need. The center gives visitors the opportunity to reconnect with life through reflection and the discovery of new depths. The heritage house offers retreats, cosmic walks and entertainment. Nano Nagle was born in Ballygriffin in the 1700s. She opened her first school in 1754 and educated children during the day and visited and cared for the sick at night. She also founded the Sisters of the Presentation in 1775. Her contribution to education has in fact led some historians to highlight her important work in saving Irish culture and the center aims to continue her work.
There is certainly no shortage of places to discover the history and heritage of Munster Vales, and we hope you will consider visiting us soon and discovering it for yourself.
Tríona O’Mahony is the Director of Destination and Marketing at Valleys of Munster. The main aim of Munster Vales is to promote the geographical area as a single brand, linking counties Waterford, Tipperary, Cork and Limerick and everything in between.
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