New €200,000 path reinforces Limerick town's historic walled town status

 New walking and cycling route will proved stunning views of the ancient wall

Donal O'Regan

Reporter:

Donal O'Regan

New €200,000 path reinforces Limerick town's historic walled town status

These knights at a Kilmallock Walled Town day aren’t the only ones defending the historic buttresses as the council is building a new walkway

KILMALLOCK was the focal point for government rule in North Munster up to the end of the 17th century – and its historic standing was celebrated at a council meeting in the town.

A new walking and cycling route is to be built alongside the western flank of the old town wall, heard councillors in the Cappamore-Kilmallock municipal district. It is the latest initiative to reinforce Kilmallock’s status as a walled town.

Rural Economic Development Zones (REDZ) funding of €200,000 will cover the construction of the pathway, fencing and repairs to the town wall where appropriate. 

The local authority will project manage. Sarah McCutcheon, executive archaeologist, Limerick City and County Council, said: “It is really going to win the hearts and minds of people to see what a wonderful monument it is.”

The town’s defences date back as far as the 1280s.

Barry Murphy, senior executive engineer, said he had been working in Kilmallock for two years and didn’t know anything about it.

“It is very inaccessible – very few have seen it. It is a unique national monument and perhaps international. It is extraordinarily rare,” said Mr Murphy.

Ms McCutcheon said the loop will commence at the back of Super Valu and end at the church.

“It will give access to the new school so children will be able to walk to school. The path will be tar and chip, low maintenance and sympathetic to its surroundings,” said Ms McCutcheon. The meeting heard that Super Valu is transferring land, the council is purchasing the next part and the parish is transferring the final section.

Combined with the new walk is rebuilding sections of the wall.

“Several spots of the wall are low,” said McCutcheon, who stressed the importance of securing householders’ boundaries.

With permission from the Department of Arts it is expected they will be allowed to rebuild these sections in a suitably sympathetic manner. “It only fell from its full height in the 1980s,” she said.

Cllr Mike Donegan said they have spent a number of years trying to progress this.

“This is the best portion of the wall – the height of it is striking and great to see conservation works as well. it is a significant leg of the project on the loop walk,” said Cllr Donegan.

Cllr Bill O’Donnell noted it had been hard to advertise Kilmallock as a walled town when you couldn’t see them. “It is going to provide a lovely walk,” he said.

Cllr Gerald Gerald Mitchell asked if allowing bicycles and walkers would create a problem.

Mr Murphy said it would be three metres, which is “quite wide” and pedestrians would have the right of way. “It should accommodate both,” he said.

Cllr Lisa Marie Sheehy asked why they needed to go to the “rigmarole” of getting permission from the Department to rebuild parts of the wall. “Surely it makes sense to build it up,” she said. To be fair to the Department, Ms McCutcheon said a lot of damage was done inadvertently in the past to walls like Kilmallock’s. The walkway is expected to be completed by August/September.