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KILMALLOCK  The Baalbek of Ireland

Cill Mocheall“ The Church of Saint Mocheall

The town of Kilmallock has scarcely altered since medieval times It still lies within the narrow oblong area once enclosed by the town walls; and its medieval streets are also the streets of today. A substantial stretch of the town walls, a town gate, a couple of old town houses, a citadel in the town centre, the collegiate church of Saints Peter and Paul and the Dominical priory still survive and impart a medieval flavour to the modern town. The whole affect of all this wonderful heritage of stone being sufficient to prompt one traveller to describe the town as the Baalbek of Ireland. Mainchá­n Seoighe,

The Story of Kilmallock

Kilmallock is a walled town of ecclesiastical origin, a monastery having been founded here by St. Maloch in the 6th century, of which the original round tower still remains. It is said to have been a walled town even before the arrival of the Anglo Normans. Many of the castles, the gates, and the surrounding walls, are however connected with the Geraldine power.

Around the walled town which was one of the principal towns of the province of Munster in medieval times, are the earliest known roots of man in the south-west of Ireland. Excavations at Tankardstown uncovered a complex of houses and early farming activity dating from shortly after 4000 B.C.

Scale models of the Stone Age houses and a large model of the medieval town are featured in Kilmallock Museum. Substantial portions of the old town walls survive as well as town gates, Blossom Gate and Johns Gate a landmark in the centre of the town. Church and abbey ruins testify to the importance of the area from the 13th to 15th centuries.

Around the walled town which was one of the principal towns of the province of Munster in medieval times, are the earliest known roots of man in the south-west of Ireland. Excavations at Tankardstown uncovered a complex of houses and early farming activity dating from shortly after 4000 B.C.

Scale models of the Stone Age houses and a large model of the medieval town are featured in Kilmallock Museum. Substantial portions of the old town walls survive as well as town gates  Blossom Gate and Johns Gate a landmark in the centre of the town. Church and abbey ruins testify to the importance of the area from the 13th to 15th centuries.

Kilmallock graveyard has yet to be surveyed on Historicgraves.com

 

JOHNS CASTLE

Built in the 15th century, the castle has two wide arched openings on the ground floor. Primarily a citadel, it was also used as an arsenal during the Cromwellian War in the mid-1600’s, and as the meeting place of Kilmallock Corporation.

 

TOWN WALL

The best stretch of the medieval town wall extends for about 400 metres (by up to six metres in height) from the rear of the Catholic Church to Blossom Gate.

 

CHURCH OF SAINTS PETER AND PAUL

The Catholic parish church, dedicated to Saint Peter and Paul, was opened in 1888. It is one of the finest examples of parish church architecture in Ireland and has been described as a mini-cathedral. Notable features of the church include its splendid stained glass windows and carved stonework.

 

KILMALLOCK MARTYRS

This is behind the Catholic Church in a place known locally as Chrochta (The Hanging Place.) It commemorates three martyrs  Bishop Patrick O’ Hely of Mayo and Fr Con O ‘Rourke who were tortured and hanged there in 1579; the third martyr, Fr Maurice MacEnraghty from Kilmallock, was hanged in Clonmel in 1585. All three were among 17 Irish martyrs beatified in 1992.

 

MUSEUM & INFORMATION CENTRE

Inside is a collection of local artifacts, mostly from the 19th and 20th century. It has a model of Kilmallock as it may have looked during medieval times.

 

DOMINICAN FRIARY

The ruins of this abbey are amongst the most impressive monastic ruins in Ireland. Founded in 1291, the monastery was closed during the general dissolution of monasteries, under Henry VIII, in 1541, when its lands were confiscated by the Crown.

 

SITE OF FRIARS GATE

This is the site of Friars Gate, a gateway into the walled town of Kilmallock.

 

FENIAN MONUMENT

This Celtic cross bears the names of Fenians who died in the Kilmallock barrack attack of 1867, or who died afterwards from the hardships they endured in prison.

 

STONE MANSION

This is the best surviving example of the medieval merchants houses that once lined the streets of Kilmallock. This house was probably built in the 16th century, when Kilmallock was the chief town of the Earls of Desmond. Originally, the house had three stories and is readily identifiable in John Mulvanys (1766-1838) painting of Kilmallock.

 

FRIARS GATE THEATRE & ART CENTRE

This former cinema is now one of the most intimate theatres in Ireland. It stages a variety of theatrical, musical and dramatic events. Art exhibitions are held here regularly.

 

SITE OF MARKET CROSS

A market cross, important as a focal point for markets and public events such as executions, stood here in the middle of the street until the late 1700’s.

 

RIVERSIDE PARK

This 1.2 hectare park beside the Lubagh River, gives magnificent views of the most notable historical buildings in the town. It is an ideal picnic area.

 

TIGH AN FHILE

The great Gaelic poet, Aindrias Mac Craith, popularly known as An Mangaire Sugach (The Merry Pedlar), died in this house in 1795.

 

COLLEGIATE CHURCH

The Collegiate Church, dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul, was built in the 13th century. Its monks lived under collegial rather than monastic rule. The church has an aisled nave, a chancel and a south transept with a fine 13th century door. A circular tower attached to the west end of the church may contain part of a round tower dating to the 10th or 11th century.

 

SAINTS PETER AND PAUL (Church of Ireland)

This Church of Ireland parish church is unique as the only 20th century brick-built edifice in Ireland. HG Hicks designed it in 1938.

 

BLOSSOM GATE

This is one of the finest examples of a medieval town gate to be found anywhere in Ireland.

 

WORKERS COTTAGES

These workers cottages date from the 19th century. Each is single storey. A loft, reached by a ladder from a common room, provided the sleeping accommodation.

 

FAMINE MEMORIAL PARK

In 1841, the first 30 destitute people from this area were admitted to Kilmallock workhouse. Countless victims of the Great Famine (1845-51) were buried in the workhouse cemetery, known as Bully Acre. The Famine Memorial Park has a tall stone structure with a large limestone cross. Her Excellency Mary McAleese, President of Ireland, opened the park in 1999.

 

COUNTY COUNCIL OFFICE and COURTHOUSE

Formerly an administrative section of Kilmallock Workhouse (built 1841), this building is now used as a courthouse and offices for Limerick County Council.

 

IVY GATE

Ivy Gate, one of five defended gateways into the walled town of Kilmallock stood on this site.

Visit at the Museum in Kilmallock