AN UPDATED edition of The Story of Kilmallock – considered by many to be the definitive guide to the town’s history – has been published due to popular demand.
Kilmallock Historical Society will launch the book which was written by the late historian and popular Limerick Leader columnist, Mannix Joyce (Mainchin Seoighe), in the town’s Pastoral Centre this Saturday night at 8.15pm.
The original edition of the book by the respected historian which traces the story of Kilmallock from its origins as an early Christian monastic settlement to the present time, has been widely distributed and is held as a treasured possession by Kilmallock people both home and abroad.
However, the book has been out of print for many years and now, due to increased demand locally, it has been reprinted with a few small amendments.
“It was originally published by Kilmallock Historical Society in 1987,” explained Noel Collins, secretary of Kilmallock Historical Society.
“There was an original little book of Kilmallock with a yellow cover which was brought out for the opening of the boys’ school in 1966. The original intention was to expand that booklet but it grew into a book of over 400 pages by Mannix Joyce.”
Kilmallock Historical Society spent many years raising funds to enable them to publish the first edition.
Thanks to the support of over 380 patrons, the book came to be and was launched in the People’s Hall.
“It was the Bible of Kilmallock really,” Noel continued. “Researchers working on reports that were done on the area have all dipped into it and used it. It has been a mine of information for brochures and leaflets and reports that we would have done on the heritage of Kilmallock. It is ‘the’ authority on the heritage of Kilmallock.”
In 1987 there were 700 copies initially printed of the first edition followed by a further 300 prints.
The book had been unavailable for purchase since the year 2000 and it was decided that this year - the 25th anniversary of the printing of the first edition - was the perfect time to do a reprint.
A total of 500 copies are to be made available.
“We have had numerous requests for it,” said Noel.
“We thought about doing it several times. We decided then to go ahead and get quotations. We found that the printing costs have reduced a lot since five or six years ago when we first thought about reprinting it.”
Ballyhoura Development have supported the initiative through a publishing grant and a number of businesses in the town have also supported the venture.
The new book contains the history of Kilmallock as written by Mannix Joyce but there are also some additions. There is a short introduction which tells the story of the Historical Society during the past 25 years and mentions some of the developments which have taken place since then as far as history and heritage in Kilmallock are concerned.
The town’s most celebrated and treasured landmarks including Kings Castle, Blossom Gate, the Collegiate Church and the Dominican Priory all feature in the book.
There are also several new photographs and drawings and the most obvious change is the new cover.
The cover features the painting of Kilmallock in the 1820s by JG Mulvany and the book also features a second painting by Mulvany taken down by the banks of the Loobagh near the bridge on Wolfe Tone Street.
“We have other new photographs in it as well. We replaced a few of the original photographs and put in new ones,” Noel explained.
The launch night which is open to the public will also feature a DVD of the original launch in the People’s Hall back in 1987. “It is very interesting in that it shows all the people coming in the doors of the People’s Hall in October 1987 and getting their books from Mick Donegan and Christy Murphy who were seated at a table at the back of the hall,” said Noel.
Another point of interest on the DVD is the sight of people smoking inside in the hall – long before the smoking ban was introduced.
The book will be launched by Fr John Leonard, PP, St Paul’s parish in the city who served as a curate in Kilmallock in the 1980s. Fr Leonard penned the foreword to the original Story of Kilmallock.
Mannix Joyce and his wife Frances who lived in Tankardstown, Kilmallock, will be remembered at 7.30pm Mass in the nearby church of Ss Peter and Paul on Saturday night.
Mannix Joyce who wrote a weekly column for the Limerick Leader for over 50 years under the pen name An Mangaire Sugach died on July 3, 2006 and is buried in Bruree. He was involved in the historical society for over 20 years and the re-issuing of the book is a tribute to his memory.
The Story of Kilmallock is priced at €25.