Early in the 9th Century, Vikings settled the island between the rivers Shannon and Abbey. Their crude settlement eventually became today's historic city of Limerick. In the 12th and 13th Centuries the Normans left their mark with many fine buildings, including the magnificent St. Mary's Cathedral and a castle built by King John in 1210. Later, high stone walls were built that divided the city into Englishtown, within the walls, and Irishtown across the Abby River. In the 18th Century the walls came down, slums were cleared and a Georgian city of charm and elegance arose.
Carved in the cross are Grapes, Ivy, Oak, and Wheat. The harp is a symbol of Ireland and figures into many of the old Irish myths.