Kilmallock is a village in County Limerick with a fascinating history and heritage which is still evident today from its medieval walls and ancient churches. It has been inhabited since ancient times and was a key centre of commerce and trade in the 13th and 14th centuries. Today it is full of well-kept historic houses, Gothic-style B&B and hotel accommodation and has a lively bustling market town atmosphere. It is just a 35-minute drive from Limerick city with its many 3 to 5 star hotels of modern and traditional style.
A Medieval Town in Limerick County
Kilmallock is a walled town and has preserved its heritage well - there’s plenty to see including King John’s Castle, which dates back to the 15th Century, a Dominican priory, and a 13th Century collegiate church. The last medieval gate for the walled town is called Blossom Gate and can be seen in Emmet Street. The town puts on a regular rota of entertainment including a Walled Town Day full of family entertainments - archery, stocks, battle re-enactments, crafts and food, harp playing, medieval shoemaking, fancy dress and treasure hunts for kids (and adults). Every August it hosts the Kilmallock Medieval Festival.
Heritage Breaks in Kilmallock
Kilmallock has a small museum in a 19th century cottage, down a lane opposite the castle, with quirky and informative exhibits which show how the locals lived in the 19th and 20th centuries. There is a collection of items relating to industrial life, farming and home life. You can also watch audiovisual presentations and see model versions of the village as it would have appeared in medieval and Stone Age times. It has more modern exhibits about the Irish Civil War, which Kilmallock was actively involved in, social history and the industrial and agricultural revolutions that have shaped the region.
Kilmallock Museum is situated near to the Dominican priory and King John’s Castle in the centre of Kilmallock and is open daily. It has car parking facilities and you can also follow the historic town trail to see 13 points of interest around the town, which are marked by information plaques. It is the first port of call if you’re visiting Kilmallock, to give you an overview of the heritage of the town. As is the case with many museums, it relies on public funding and enthusiastic volunteers, which means opening hours can vary and it needs some modernising.
Arts and Literature in Kilmallock
Kilmallock also has a well-known theatre called Friars Gate, which is a hub for local artists and writers in the region. It is a small performance space with 130 seats, but puts on a wide range of entertainment including live performances, exhibitions of local artists’ work, open mic evenings, creative writing and art workshops for adults, as well as a book club. The late Gaelic poet Aindrias MacCraith (pen name Mangaire Sugach) was born in Kilmallock and his most famous poem, Slan le Maigh, can now be heard at Kilmallock Museum.
Kilmallock has a wide choice of accommodation such as Gothic-style B&Bs in registered historic houses, just a 15-minute walk from the museum and Friars Gate Theatre, or larger family-friendly hotels in the town centre. It is a great destination for a day trip from Limerick city with its wider choice of hotels.