Like many Irish towns and villages, the name Kilmallock is derived from a local saint – in this case, Mocheallóg – who built a church on the hill that, today, overlooks the town. Kilmallock’s Dominican Priory, referred to locally as ‘the abbey’, replaced that church, and is something of a landmark to this day.
Established in 1291 by Gilbert Fitzgerald of the White Knights, who then invited the Dominicans to the monastery, where his clan remained the key benefactors. Maurice Fitzgerald was the main patron of the friary when it was enlarged in 1320. Its community both grew and dwindled over the centuries, mainly due to changing land laws and wars, with friars eventually abandoning the venerable building for good in 1790.
The abbey is accessible by a wooden pathway from the Kilmallock Cottage Museum, a new river walk runs parallel to this historic landmark.