Medieval battle to take centre stage in County Limerick town on walled town day

Aine Fitzgerald

Reporter:

Aine Fitzgerald

PREPARATIONS are under-way to bring Kilmallock’s medieval heritage to life on August 19 when the town hosts its Walled Town Day.

PREPARATIONS are under-way to bring Kilmallock’s medieval heritage to life on August 19 when the town hosts its Walled Town Day.

A series of public events to celebrate what is one of Ireland’s most intact walled towns have been organised including a children’s medieval battle, crafts and food fair, a tug of war competition, archery, and a cycle to Kilmallock from Buttevant, the town’s nearest medieval neighbour. The event is being organised by the Walled Towns Committee of Kilmallock Tourism and funded by the Irish Walled Towns Network, Ballyhoura Development Ltd and Limerick County Council.

To coincide with the programme launch for Kilmallock’s Walled Town Day, Limerick County Council has said that 245 metres of Kilmallock’s medieval walls have been restored since the commencement of the Kilmallock Town Walls Conservation and Management Plan and Kilmallock Walled Town Public Realm Plan in 2009. It is envisaged that an additional 30 to 40 metres of the town’s west wall will undergo restoration works before the end of 2012.

“Grant aided by the Irish Walled Towns Network, the restoration work undertaken on the town’s west wall and the east wall around the Collegiate Church has helped to protect a unique part of County Limerick’s history and heritage,” said Sarah McCutcheon, executive archaeologist, Limerick County Council.

Kilmallock was once regarded as one of the most strategically important towns in Ireland due to its medieval wall defences, castles, gatehouses and church. “The work to restore the town’s walls is complemented by ongoing efforts to identify and develop specific initiatives, schemes and projects that improve the town’s infrastructure and visitor offering with particular emphasis on its walled town status,” explained Ms McCutcheon.

The upcoming Walled Town Day is one of a number of initiatives being developed to promote the town and its rich heritage.

Two weeks ago, Brian Hayes, Minister of State with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW), was invited by the tourism sub-group of Kilmallock Partnership to view the four buildings in State Ownership in the town.

During the visit, members of Kilmallock Partnership informed the Minister of State of plans to shortly provide regular guided tours of the town which, with the co-operation of the OPW, will include John’s Castle. The OPW will provide technical assistance for guiding and interpretation.

Kilmallock’s Walled Town Day will commence with a medieval music concert in the Dominican Priory on Saturday evening, August 18.

On Sunday, a group of cyclists from the South Side Wheelie Wheelers will set off from Kilmallock to the town’s nearest medieval neighbour in Buttevant in north Cork where they’ll receive a medieval welcome.

A guided walk of Kilmallock at 11am will offer members of the public unique access to John’s Castle and Blossom Gate, the only surviving gate of the five town gates of Kilmallock.

It will be one of the first times that John’s Castle and Blossom Gate have been opened to the public.

At 11.30am at the GAA grounds there will be under age hurling and under 16s camogie games between Kilmallock and Buttevant. A medieval fancy dress parade will leave the library car-park at 1.30pm and snake down through the town to join the festivities in the grounds of Coláiste Iósaef. On the field there will be medieval re-enactors, a children’s medieval battle, face painting, stocks, kiddies races, archery, and a crafts and food fair. A tug-of-war competition is planned for 3pm. The day will finish with a treasure hunt at 4.30pm.

Further information on Kilmallock Walled Town Day is available from www.kilmallocktoday.com.