Kilmallock (Cill Mocheallóg, "the church of Saint Mocheallóg") is a village in County Limerick in Ireland. It's difficult to believe now, but this little place (population 1688 in 2016) was once of great strategic importance, reflected in the ruins of its abbey, castle and medieval town walls. Battles, sieges and sackings continued right up to 1922, when it was the last bastion of the "Munster Republic", which resisted the terms of the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty. The main reason to visit is to reach sights in the south of County Limerick, the must-see being the prehistoric site of Lough Gur.
Bus 329 runs twice M-Sa from Limerick Colbert railway station, taking about an hour to Bruff, Kilmallock and Kilfinnane. And that's all. You're going to need a car.
The railway station has closed, so the Dublin-Cork trains rush through. The nearest station is 8 km southwest in Charleville, County Cork.
You need wheels to reach Lough Gur and the other county sights. A bike will do nicely.
- 1 Blossom Gate on Emmett St is the best-preserved remnant of the medieval town walls.
- 2 Kilmallock Abbey or St Saviour's Dominican Priory north side of town was established in 1291. The main ruin, the church, is 14th / 15th C. The abbey was dissolved in 1451 but the monks retained a local presence, sometimes at the cost of their lives, until 1790. You're free to wander round the site at any time.
- The Collegiate Church of St Peter and St Paul, just south of the abbey, was completed in 1241. It became a collegiate church in 1500, meaning it didn't have a permanent priest, but the abbey friars took turns. Cromwell wrecked it on principle, but it remained in use by the Church of Ireland until an arson attack of 1935.
- King John's Castle on Sheare's Avenue is a tower house built in the 15th century, a mere 200 years after the reign of King John. These contractors, eh? It was renovated in the 18th / 19th C.
- 3 Lough Gur is a shallow lake surrounded by prehistoric sites, 10 km north of Kilmallock and 15 km south of Limerick. The visitor centre on the east bank displays a replica of the Bronze Age shield found here (the original is the National Museum in Dublin). It has concentric ridges and this style is called "Yetholm-type" after the Scottish village where three were found in a bog. You can't go into the ruins of medieval Bouchier's Castle, but can stroll to the grassy remnants of Carraig Aille Ring Forts. Along the lane by the south bank is a wedge tomb from perhaps 2500 BC, then the ruins of an early modern church with cemetery. Grange stone circle 300 m west of the lake is a 45 m diameter ring with the encircling stones almost touching.
- 4 Galbally has a ruined 13th century Franciscan friary. But the main reason to visit is the scenic Glen of Aherlow which descends east into County Tipperary - see Tipperary town.
- 5 Ardpatrick has the scrappy, ivy-clad remains of a monastery and round tower, you mostly come for the view from the hill.
- 6 Castle Oliver was built in Scottish Baronial style in 1845. It has occasionally been open to the public, but not since it changed owners in 2015.
- Friars Gate is a theatre and arts centre on Sarsfield St. Box Office is +353 63 98727.
- 1 JJ's Craft Brewing, Glenfield Rd, Kilmallock, ☏ . M-F 09:00-17:00, Sa 09:00-13:00. Established in 2015, this small brewery produces half-a-dozen ales. Ring for tours. Tour €10.
- 2 Ballyhoura Trailriders, Ardpatrick (off R512), ☏ . Tu-Su 09:00-17:00. Offroad bike hire and repair shop at the trailhead of the Ballyhoura biking and hiking trails, which stretch over the mountain into County Cork.
- Become the Receptacle and Abode of Wolves and serve you right, if you support the English and Anglo-Normans, according to the Annals of the Four Masters. This compilation of folk-lore, legend and Irish history was written down in the 1630s. As to the early pages, starting with the Biblical Flood 2242 years after the world's creation, "it ain't necessarily so". The Annals become more reliable for the late medieval period, so when they declare that the sacking of Kilmallock in 1571 was not motivated by loot, then ooh no it wasn't. The account drools over the division of that loot before dispatching the town in fire and demolition. Then the wolves, common in Ireland for another century, closed in on their new Receptacle.
- SuperValu on Sarsfield St is open M-Sa 08:00-21:00, Su 08:00-19:00.
- Carroll Auctioneers on Lord Edward Street have contrived to have their business classified as a pub. Enjoy, but just be careful how you signal for another round.
- Orchid Palace on Sarsfield St is open M-Th 16:00-23:30, F Sa 15:00-00:00, Su 13:30-23:30.
- Mega Bites on Sarsfield St does fast food, eat in or take away. They're open daily 15:00-00:00.
- Howard's Old Stand Bar on Emmett St has been around for ever and a day.
- Daffy's is a block north of main drag at 4 Wolfe Tone St.
- 1 Fitzgeralds, Lord Edward St, Kilmallock, ☏ . Friendly well-run B&B. B&B double €80.
- 2 Deebert House Hotel, Deerbert, Kilmallock, ☏ . Modern mid-range hotel in a converted mill, open year-round and good base for exploring the county. B&B double €90.
- 3 Kilfinane, the little village at the terminus of the bus route from Limerick, has accommodation such as Ballyhoura Hostel, dorm €26 pp, and a campervan park.
As of July 2020, you'll manage a call with Three, and 4G with Vodafone, but there's no signal from Eir. 5G has not yet reached this area.
- For city attractions, either head north to Limerick or south to Cork.
- Tipperary isn't a long way if you start from here. The best of it is Glen of Aherlow which descends from the village of Garbally.
- Tralee and Killarney are in the rugged, scenic Kerry countryside that has inspired a thousand tea-towels.