King John’s Castle in Limerick will not be renamed, although the local council took over the equipment earlier this week.
A spokesman for Limerick City and County Council has confirmed its priority is to promote the castle as an attractive tourist destination, rather than simply removing the name of the 13th-century monarch.
Discover Limerick, a subsidiary of Limerick City and County Council, took over the historic building from its former owners, Shannon Group, on Monday. Following the change in ownership, voices from the historic and tourist sectors of Limerick had questioned the benefits of changing the name.
Sharon Slater, historian-in-residence at Ormston House cultural center in Limerick City, thinks ‘Limerick Castle’ is a much better name and would like to see it ‘changed’ – having been known by that name in the past.
According to Ms Slater, there are several other castles across Ireland also called King John’s Castle, such as Dungarvan and Carlingford.
“The castle itself has been given several names over the centuries. It was best known as the “Castle” in Limerick or Limerick Castle.
Construction of the castle ended around 1210 and was built by order of King John, hence its name.
However, Ms Slater added that King John had done little to help Limerick and was known in Ireland and England as ‘the worst king’.
“Disney literally made a movie about how bad he was. People might forget that Prince John, in all the Robin Hood stories, is King John. He was a terrible king,” she said. added.
Fine Gael councilor Olivia O’Sullivan agreed there were “very good points” about the name change, but admitted it was an ongoing issue locally.
“From a tourist point of view, Limerick Castle would be a positive name. We have a very medieval town. We call ourselves Treaty County, so are we doing an injustice by calling it King John’s Castle? Would Limerick Castle give him more than one platform? she added.