A big crowd turned up at the official opening of Kilmallock’s footbridge and gave a big wave on a windy Friday morning in the aftermath of Storm Callum
PARTS of the historic town wall in Kilmallock are visible for the first time in generations.
Limerick City and County Council lead a project to conserve more than 500 metres of the west wall and create a walkway along the route. It allows locals and visitors to experience the wall for the first time.
Up until now it was on private property.
Kilmallock was an important Norman town and was at the centre of Ireland’s political development from the 13th through to the 17th centuries, a history that is evident through the rich architectural heritage and national monuments. The original circuit of the town’s defences was 1,700 metres and of this about 1,200 metres remains standing.
The four national monuments in State ownership are King’s Castle (15th century), Stone Mansion (16th century), Collegiate Church (13th century) and the Dominican Priory (late 13th century).
What makes this project unique is that visitors to the west wall walkway will be seeing the same landscape as those centuries ago, as Kilmallock has never really expanded outside its original walled boundary. To enhance the town even further, the new pedestrian bridge was officially opened on Friday.
It provides a greatly improved link from the town and hugely increased safety to the recently developed riverside walk.
Overall cost of the west wall walkway and footbridge amounted to almost €900,000, with funding from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the Irish Walled Towns Network, Rural Economic Development Zone, Hinterland, and council own funds.
Cathaoirleach of Cappamore-Kilmallock municipal district, Eddie Ryan cut the ribbon on the bridge, alongside Minister Patrick O’Donovan.
“Kilmallock has a long and rich history and today we see that history becoming more accessible to a lot more people with the official opening of the west wall walkway, which is just under 500 metres in length. It is set to become a new thoroughfare for Kilmallock, providing a wonderful amenity to residents and visitors alike. The people of Kilmallock value their heritage and know that it makes the town unique, beautiful and magical and the town wall is central to that vision,” said Cllr Ryan.
Minister O’Donovan said it is “a great day for Kilmallock, especially for the people of the town and surrounding areas”.
“Over the past number of years, there has been a massive metamorphosis in Kilmallock, with a huge amount of projects finished or nearing completion. The ideas have come from the bottom up and facilitated by the government. There has been a new fire station, courthouse, library, new primary and secondary schools, sewage treatment plant and now a new pedestrian bridge and a new walkway by the wall.
“There is more to be done such as with the medieval mansion in the town. I know the contribution that building can make into the future, as much as it made in the past. Over the last number of years we have been developing a rural strategy for our towns and villages and it is out of that, that some funding will be secured for projects in Kilmallock,” said Minister O’Donovan.
Sean Coughlan, director of support services, highlighted the contribution of the council’s architect Sarah McCutcheon.
“Her passion and drive to have the walls of Kilmallock preserved for generations to come has almost single-handedly guaranteed the completion of the project,” said Mr Coughlan.