Medieval Kilmallock

  • Kilmallock - Munster Vales
  • Kilmallock (Munster Vales)
  • Kilmallock (Munster Vales)

Kilmallock is an important Anglo-Norman town and was at the centre of Ireland’s political development from the 13th through to the 17th centuries, a history that is evident through the rich architectural heritage comprising multiple national monuments.

Kilmallock, Co. Limerick, is set in the valley of the River Loobagh and nestled at the foot of the Ballyhoura Hills to the south with the Galtee mountains to the east.

It is an attractive town of great cultural and heritage value, deriving its name from a monastery founded there by Ceallóg in the late 6th/early 7th century. The medieval town was a major centre for religion and subsequently for trade and commerce becoming second only to Limerick City in the region and a major trading link between the cities of Cork and Limerick.

It was also politically significant as it was a stronghold of the Earls of Desmond. This dominance is evident in the wealth of medieval buildings that survive to the present day creating a unique urban landscape.

These include the 13th century Collegiate Parish Church and the Dominican Priory, over 1200m of medieval town wall, including a town gate, Blossom Gate, the 15th century King’s Castle standing astride the main street and 16th century houses of the wealthy town merchants. These are all contained in a relatively intact layout of medieval streets and burgage plots, still sheltered and defined by the town wall.

Today, Kilmallock is the fourth largest town in Co. Limerick with a population of 1,688 (2016). As the hub for the enjoyment of the Ballyhoura Region Kilmallock attracts visitors looking for activity, leisure and cultural breaks alike.

Kilmallock is situated just 10km from the Ballyhoura Mountain Biking Centre with an annual through put of 40,000 adventure seekers blazing trails over nearly 100km of world standard off road courses.

Kilmallock is also the hub of a series of cycle loops along the by-roads offering a variety of scenic journeys for all levels varying in length from 20km to 83km.

If bicycles aren’t your thing, then Kilmallock is also ideally placed to avail of 1500km of walks that comprise the Ballyhoura way marked walks. Kilmallock is the natural springboard to sample the cultural attractions of the wider area whether it be the pre-historic treasures to be found in Lough Gur or the Early Christian round tower at Ardpatrick.

Kilmallock’s Friar’s Gate Theatre is the centre of the arts in South East Limerick offering plays, concerts, art exhibitions, community arts programmes, workshops and summer camps as well as some fantastic Special Guest nights.

The town is trading on its past but looking forward to its future.

The Roman Catholic Church, built in 1888, reflects the architectural designs of the earlier Priory. The civic centre contains the Courthouse, the Local Government Office and a state of the art Library cradled in and around the former Workhouse administrative building. The primary school, is designed by internationally renowned O’Donnell & Toumey Architects, is situated at one end of the West Wall Walkway outside the medieval town wall. The recently extended secondary school has facilitated a new walkway along the river bank opening up unique views of the nationally unique & important Dominican Priory. Kilmallock also offers a rare shopping experience as the local SuperValu contains remnants of two 16th century merchants’ houses, representing a 500 year tradition of retail on the main street!

An audio guide of Kilmallock is available to download for free.


County Limerick

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Treaty Stone Limerick. Photo Piotr Machowczyk