Limerick was an old industrial city and went through a number of waves of industrial restructuring away from traditional industries into assembly-based operations in the 1970’s and 1980’s and into ICT and more advanced manufacturing in the 1990’s and 2000’s. Limerick has further developed into higher value-added manufacturing, ICT, pharmaceuticals, biotech, medical devices / technologies and orthopaedics. These are amongst the highest value-added industries.  

Based on Census 2016, manufacturing contributes significantly to employment in Limerick with 14.9% of persons at work resident in Limerick City and County working in the manufacturing sector, higher than the national average, 11.4%. Manufacturing employment remains important in the rural economy accounting for some 9,000 persons at work in the former Limerick County in 2016.

Manufacturing in the city and suburbs is concentrated in the industrial parks in Raheen Industrial Park and Plassey Technological Park - the location of high tech industries and larger companies (e.g., Regeneron, Johnson & Johnson). A number of Limerick county towns have a strong profile of manufacturing industry - Newcastle West, Rathkeale and Kilmallock.

Based on CSO Business Demography data on the profile of private enterprises located in Limerick, in 2020, just under one-fifth (19.7%) of all persons engaged in Limerick-based enterprises are in manufacturing.