Limerick (lĭmˈərĭk) [key], county (1991 pop. 161,956), 1,037 sq mi (2,686 sq km), SW Republic of Ireland. Limerick is the county seat. The region is an agricultural plain lying S of the Shannon estuary. The Golden Vale in the eastern part of the county and the Shannon bank are especially fertile. Dairy farming and salmon fishing are the chief occupations. On the Shannon River above Limerick is an important hydroelectric plant. Main manufactures include aluminum castings, automotive parts, concrete pipes, and office equpiment. After the Anglo-Norman invasion and the organization of Limerick as a shire (c.1200), the district was controlled for many centuries by the earls of Desmond.