I once stayed at the Limerick Strand Hotel a few years ago on a one-night visit to the city to watch the mighty Munster at Thomond Park.
I remember leaving the hotel to walk the 10 minutes to the stadium, I remember Munster winning, the first, second and third pub after the game and then waking up in a lovely double room and having to miss breakfast because I'd slept in. The rest is a bit of a blur.
The next day it hurt when I touched my head, arm, chest and leg - it turned out those parts of my body were fine but I had broken my finger after falling during a particularly exuberant rendition of Stand Up And Fight.
It was good to be back in Limerick last week and be able to remember the visit this time. It was also great to be back at one of the best hotels the city has to offer.
The Limerick Strand has an absolutely brilliant location right on the edge of the River Shannon. It has a birds-eye view of every landmark in the historical city and is the ideal location for an autumn getaway break.
Since reopening after lockdown back in July, the safety of their guests has become the Limerick Strand's top priority as evidenced by their Failte Ireland Safety Charter proudly displayed in the lobby of the hotel.
There are 184 fully refurbished, air-conditioned bedrooms to choose from and great parking right under the hotel.
We stayed for two nights in interconnecting rooms which really are ideal for families.
With large comfy beds, great bathrooms and Limerick city centre right on your doorstep, you couldn't really ask for more.
My son and I particularly enjoyed the hotel's Energize Health Centre with its 20-metre swimming pool. In fact we managed to fit three one-hour visits in during our stay while my wife loved the gym and Jacuzzi.
I've been really lucky recently and have enjoyed some wonderful meals in hotel restaurants in Dublin and Galway.
But hand on heart the evening meal at the Strand was the best I've had this year.
Celebrated executive chef Tom Flavin and his wonderful team in the kitchen say they focus on surpassing the expectations of guests.
Based upon the food we enjoyed they have easily done that and firmly placed the hotel on the culinary map.
We thoroughly enjoyed our 'dinner with a view' in the corner the hotel's Terrace Bar and Restaurant.
With an emphasis on fresh, seasonal produce the quality of the meal was quite simply outstanding.
A starter of Castletownbere squid calamari with chilli butter was simply cooked but incredibly tasty as was the spicy BBQ chicken wings with Cashel blue cheese dressing.
The mains of grilled hake and ribeye steak were cooked perfectly but my Irish beef short rib with pearl onions, buttermilk carrots and cheddar mash stole the show. A truly wonderful mix of flavours.
My ever-expanding waistline usually deters me from sampling desserts but I knew I had to have a taste of the Attyflin Estate apple tart.
A massive portion with custard and vanilla ice cream had the beating of me but not my five-year-old son Noah who did everything but lick the plate.
Not surprisingly the hotel's breakfast - served in the adjacent River Restaurant - won the Best Hotel Irish Breakfast Menu at the Georgina Campbell Irish Breakfast Awards 2020.
I'm also told that the hotel's Sunday lunch is the stuff of legend around Limerick with the roast rib of Irish beef being awarded overall winner in Knorr's "Ireland's Great Roast 2019".
Chef Flavin slow-cooks the rib of Irish beef for over 26 hours, it is marinated in three types of mustard. I'm actually kind of sad I didn't extend my stay to try it.
As Ireland's third largest city, some would say Limerick is also its most friendly and welcoming destination; a cultural hotbed, renowned for its many archaeological and historic wonders.
Few regions offer the magical blend of city and country quite like Limerick.
With a whole host of top class activities and attractions, Limerick truly has something for everyone to enjoy and some of Ireland's most famous attractions within an hour's drive of the hotel.
There's also a range of walking, running and cycling map routes available to hotel guests at reception, where smiling staff are also happy to provide you with suggested driving itineraries to explore the Shannon Region.
We chose to visit the nearby Bunratty Castle & Folk Park which is just 20 minutes' drive from the hotel.
Set on 26 acres, the impressive park features over 30 buildings in a 'living' village and rural setting.
Rural farmhouses, village shops and streets are recreated and furnished as they would have appeared at that time according to their social standing, from the poorest one-roomed dwelling to Bunratty House, a fine example of a Georgian residence built in 1804 and home of the Studdarts, the last family to occupy Bunratty Castle.
It's a great way to get some fresh air as you walk around the park and probably a good idea after enjoying so much great food.
The Limerick Strand's Foodie Fall Feast package will certainly appeal to those looking for a distinctive local flavour! Stay overnight with a cooked-to-order breakfast, glass of Prosecco before dinner and if you choose to stay on a Friday night, resident singer, Liam O'Brien will raise the spirits before enjoying your 3-course Fall Feast in the AA Rosette Terrace Bar & Restaurant. Next morning, after your hearty breakfast, enjoy a tour of Treaty City Brewery. Guests can also enjoy a late check-out (2pm). Package from €150 per person sharing to include dinner, glass of bubbles, breakfast and Trinity Brewery tour.
To make a reservation call 0035361 421800 or email email@example.com. For more details, visit www.strandlimerick.ie.