After years of saying I’m going to do it, I got off my arse and went looking for some Geocaches in my area. There are almost 30 geocaches within my 5KM radius so I’m hoping to find as many as I can during this lockdown. So on the last Saturday in January, myself and Nicola heading off around Limerick search for these hidden treasures. In the post below, I’ll post about the first geocaches we found (no spoilers) and a little bit about the area its located.
Abbey River View
Our first cache was just a 500-metre walk from where we parked. Although I had previously mentioned geocaching to Nicola, I hadn’t told her we going on the hunt until we were moving. The coordinates and the hint lead us exactly to the hiding spot. There were a few muggles (non-geocachers) along the quay so we needed to be quick.
The Abbey River is a distributary river off the River Shannon. The two rivers encircle the historic King’s Island which is home to landmarks such as King John’s Castle, St Mary’s Cathedral and the Walls of Limerick.
Next up was a tiny, magnetic nano near to Colbert Station, the primary transport hub for Limerick. Over the years, it has been the starting point for many of my adventures.
Originally opened as Limerick station in 1858. It was renamed Colbert Station in 1966 in memory of 1916 rebel leader Con Colbert. In recent years, the area in front of the station has been transformed from a car park to an open-air plaza with seating.
Definitely glad I packed the tweezers to extract the log. Once we signed the log, we were on our way to the next cache.
Cache number three sent us to Leamy House on Hartstone Street. Leamy House is a Tudor-style building that was built in the 1840s. For over 100 years, it was home to Leamy School (originally funded by the Leamy Free Schools trust) which operated until the 1950s.
A fun fact I discovered while looking into the history of Leamy House was that the building is named after it’s benefactor William Leahy. Leahy spent his life at sea and it is believed to have made his fortune from piracy apparently. Any story is automatically improved by pirates. This is definitely someone I want to find out more about.
Leamy house’s most famous student was Frank McCourt, author of Angela’s Ashes, who attended the school in the 1930s. The building was home to a Frank McCourt Museum, which opened in 2011 but unfortunately, this has since closed in 2019 due to lack of financial support.
The cache itself, a small tube, was another quick find thanks to the description & hint. Hartstone Street was surprisingly busy for a Saturday afternoon so we had to wait a few minutes for muggles to pass before stealthily returning the cache to it’s hiding place.
St Joseph’s Church
Cache Number Four is located near St Joseph’s Church on O’Connell Avenue. It is part of a series of caches based on the Churches of Limerick. I wouldn’t consider myself to be overly religious but I do find the history of religion to be an interesting topic. St Joseph’s is a Roman Catholic church that was built in 1904. It was nicknamed the “Church of the Spite” as a sort of dig at their neighbours, the Jesuits. It recently featured in the animated short film, Angela’s Christmas Wish.
This cache was another nano. Unfortunately, the logbook was full so we couldn’t sign it but a good find none the less.
This is one I really enjoyed. It’s a multi-cache. That means the cache itself isn’t at the stated location. Instead, you need to answer some questions to find to work out where the final cache was. This required some research before I left home.
Thankfully, this gave me the opportunity to discover some interesting things about the history of my city which I didn’t know. I won’t go into it here as I don’t want to spoil the challenge of this cache. Armed with this information, we cracked the code and easily found the cache. It was exactly where I had expected to find it before leaving the house.
O’Challaghan’s Strand sits along the banks of the Shannon and is home to the Strand Hotel, the Cleeves factory and the St Michael’s Rowing Club. Across the river, you can see the Limerick Boat Club and the City Centre. It’s part of the Three Bridges Walk around Limerick which is one of my favourites walks in the city. It gets its name from Michael O’Callaghan, a former Mayor of Limerick who was shot by British Auxiliaries in 1921 during the War of Independence.
As we returned to the car, we took the opportunity to nab a virtual cache on Thomond Bridge. All this required was a picture of us on the bridge. As you can see King John’s Castle, which overlooks the bridge, in the background.
Thomond Bridge, the original crossing point over the River Shannon, has been rebuilt many times since the 1100s. In the story of the “Drunken Tady & The Bishop’s Lady”, the ghost of the Bishop’s Lady would attack those who crossed the river at night and toss them into the river. The current bridge was constructed in 1840.
In total, we walk around 5km around the city looking for our first geocaches. A very enjoyable way to liven up a walk. I’m surprised I haven’t done it sooner as it’s something that combines a lot of my interests – maps/navigation, walking/hiking, exploring new places, solving puzzles and technology. We’ve now found six geocaches. Our goal now is to find 20 by the 5th March. I think that’s a realistic goal.
For the history buffs, my main reference for the above is Limerick’s Life (www.limerickslife.com), run by my friend Sharon Slator. It’s a great source of information about the history of Limerick.