THE 2014 All-Ireland semi-final replay was probably the last time the majority of Mayo fans will have stepped foot in Limerick city and laid eyes on Páirc na nGael, a ground that brings such sad memories for all of us.
For yours truly, however, studying at the University of Limerick means the Gaelic Grounds has become a familiar sight in the last three years and that college experience has also given me plenty of local knowledge to pass on.
Without considering the traffic, it’ll take up to two and a half hours to make it to Limerick, so the bellies will be rumbling at some stage. Paddy Burke’s in Clarinbridge is a tasty halfway hut, but for variety alone, Limerick city has plenty to offer and it’s only a five-minute drive from the grounds.
Marco Polo on O’Connell Street gives a plush dining experience, but for affordable prices. Texas Steak-Out is just down that street too, for anyone feeling less glam’ and more country. If you happen to take a trip across the city towards the university, you may run into a few Munster players hanging out in La Cucina, or even Galway hurler Joe Canning in his new restaurant, Camile Thai.
For those planning on making a weekend out of it, the Travel Lodge on the Ennis Road is cheap and cheerful, or if you’re looking for five-star luxury, The Savoy Hotel is your spot (not that I’d know!).
But what I do know is the social scene.
Flannery’s Bar is a gentle social surround for anyone looking for a ‘quiet one’ and has plenty of culture and craic to go with it. Former Irish rugby international Jerry Flannery’s pub is a gem. Be warned though, rugby is the number one topic of conversation.
For late-night revellers, The Locke Bar always has live music of some sort with a scenic balcony overlooking the River Shannon.
But for the more adventurous, Nancy Blake’s is a must (over-23s typically) and only across the road is the famous Smyth’s Bar and The Icon – a personal favourite.
A late bar with live music downstairs and a nightclub to throw some shapes upstairs.
Whatever you do, enjoy it, because it might be a while before most of us are there again!