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Pocket Guide: Kilmallock Friars Gate Theatre Hotels

Kilmallock is a historic village 35 minutes’ drive from Limerick city via the N20. It was a key town in Munster in the 13th and 14th centuries and you can see evidence of this today with its historic houses, museums, theatre and castles, which remain in good condition and open to the public. There are several hotels and guesthouses close to the theatre including Gothic-style historic houses for something rather unusual.

Theatrical Arts in Kilmallock

Kilmallock is home to the Friars Gate Theatre and has positioned itself a hub for arts and culture in the region. Friars Gate is a small 130-seat theatre in the centre of the village and programmes a range of events for all the family - performances, education and community outreach programmes, exhibitions of local artists’ work, open mic evenings, youth drama workshops, creative writing classes, art classes and a book group. It also plays a part in town events such as Medieval Kilmallock Festival and Walled Town Day.

Cultural Holidays in Kilmallock

Kilmallock is home to a small museum, which is open daily and depicts local life in the 19th and 20th centuries. You can explore the village as it would have looked during medieval times and there is a model of the village complete with town walls (only one remains today). Exhibits also explore more recent history such as the Irish Civil War, industrial changes and the social history of the area. You can also book a guided tour of the village.

Kilmallock is proud of its heritage and puts on regular events for locals and tourists such as the Medieval Kilmallock Festival in August, farmers’ markets, vintage car shows, a film festival, art and poetry readings via the Friars Gate Theatre, and Kilmallock Walled Town Day, which celebrates the town’s status through a programme of family activities including archery, battle re-enactments, harp playing, Irish crafts and food, medieval shoe making, treasure hunts, fancy dress and more.

Historic Holidays in Kilmallock

The town is walled and there are plenty of heritage sites to see including King’s Castle (15th Century), the Dominican priory, and a collegiate church which was founded in the 13th Century to honour St Peter and St Paul. The priory has a beautiful west window and you can see various examples of decorative stone carving from the 13th and 14th centuries. Blossom Gate in Emmet Street is the last gate of the medieval town wall.

Further out of town, Ash Hill House is also well worth a visit. It is based in Ash Hill Estate with accommodation nearby just outside Kilmallock. The house was initially built in the 18th Century, but was added to in the 19th Century. It is a mix of classic Georgian and Gothic styles and was home to the Coote and Evens families. It is now part of a wooded estate with stables and a working farm where racehorses are bred.

Kilmallock is a historic and pretty village a short drive from Limerick city and well worth a day trip to see some of Ireland’s history. If you fall in love with it and want to stay longer there are plenty of good hotels and historic guesthouses to choose from. Having the Friars Gate Theatre in the town centre gives it an artistic atmosphere and there’s always something creative to see and do.