Limerick, Ireland


Awarded the UNESCO Learning City and European Green Leaf (2020), Limerick is the third largest city in the Republic of Ireland, located 200 km from Dublin. It is situated approximately 60km inland from the Atlantic Ocean at the head of the broad river Shannon estuary. The city dates back to at least the Viking settlement in 812 at the head of the river Shannon and river Abbey. As a medieval city, Limerick was a fortified town dominated by its castle and associated fortifications. Later on, in the 18th century Limerick was extended to the south in the style of a formally ‘planned’ town as it prospered through trade. This area now represents the current day central business district and is characterised by the red brick buildings typical of the Georgian period.

Limerick's climate is classified as temperate ‐ being a mild climate with an annual average rain fall of 927mm, and an average temperature of 10°C. The urban green space per capita with 73 m2is above the ideal WHO value (50 m²) and exceeds by far the European average (18,2 m²). The three largest economic sectors in Limerick are wholesale and retail trade, construction, and professional, scientific and technical activities. In terms of employment, the key sectors are human health and social work.


Green, accessible and multi-functional routes to link up natural habitats

Limerick City’s main areas of natural habitats containing significant biodiversity are based around a large network of rivers, including the River Shannon, the Abbey River and the Ballynaclough River with associated wetlands, grasslands and established woodlands.

While a rich network of greenspaces and habitats is in place, there is potential to further enhance the value and quality of these areas by creating strong, multifunctional linkages between them, in keeping with the principles of European Green Infrastructure Strategy.

Such linkages, if properly planned and implemented, can provide a range of ecosystem services including: creating ecological corridors for wildlife movement; providing active travel routes and encouraging healthier lifestyles; improving wellbeing through contact with nature; improving air quality and even reducing flood risk where Sustainable Urban Drainage features are included.

GoGreenRoutes will support the city in creating those linkages and implementing nature-based solutions as green infrastructure within the densely built urban environment of Limerick as well as connections between important habitats through multi-functional green routes.

Off-road active travel routes

Surface water flooding and overburdened combined sewers are a problem for many older cities. Nature-based solutions such as Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems can significantly reduce this problem and contribute to biodiversity, ecological connectivity and place making.

Creating attractive, safe off-road active travel routes will also be a focus area of the project as these can provide a major contribution to long-term sustainability.

Noise is responsible for the second biggest burden of disease due to environmental factors after air pollution.  Identifying and protecting tranquil areas where the public can take respite from the hustle and bustle of city life has a very positive impact on public health.

While air quality in Limerick is generally good, there are areas which require further action.  Increasing tree canopy cover or creating vegetative barriers to busy roads can reduce particulate pollution significantly, while contributing to biodiversity, control of storm runoff and place making.


Sarah O'Malley, EU project officer sarah.omalley@limerick.ie

Limerick Council Twitter account

Limerick Council website