This is the strategic location in 922 where Thormodr Helgason, the Viking sea-king, built the first permanent stronghold. The arrival of the Anglo-Normans to the area changed everything in 1172. In 1774, the local chieftain, Domhnall Mór Ó Briain burned the city to the ground in a bid to keep it from the hands of the new invaders. The Anglo-Normans finally captured the area in 1195 and local legend claims Limerick was given its first charter and its first Mayor. King John of England who was then Lord of Ireland ordered a castle to be built here in 1200 which became one of the finest Anglo-Norman castles in the entire country. Limerick prospered under the Norman rulers and the city was divided into 2 areas known as “English Town” on King’s Island and “Irish Town” on the south bank. By the 1550’s, Limerick was regarded as the most beautiful town in Ireland. In the 17th century the castle came under attack in at least 5 occasions and was occupied in 1642 by Protestants fleeing the Irish Rebellion the year before. It was besieged by an Irish Confederate force under Garret Barry who undermined parts of the walls permanently by digging away their foundations. Those inside surrendered just before Barry collapsed the walls. The castle now has a brand new visitor centre with state of the art interpretive activities and exhibitions.