The burning of Kilmallock
Irish History From The Annals


The Annals record that during the Desmond rebellion in 1571 the town of Kilmallock, Co. Limerick was pillaged and burned.

The Annals of the Four Masters record that during the first Desmond rebellion in 1571 James Fitz Maurice, the captain general of Desmond, launched a devastating attack on the town of Kilmallock, Co. Limerick. Accompanied by mercenaries drawn from the MacSweeney and MacSheehy clans he took the fortified town by surprise in the early morning. The town was systematically pillaged of its moveable wealth, then it was burned and finally the stone and wooden houses were demolished before the raiders departed. The annals noted that after this the town became “the receptacle and abode of wolves”. However the town was quickly rebuilt and Fitz Maurice submitted to the President of Munster John Perrot in Kilmallock in 1573 ending the rebellion.

James Mac Maurice took Kilmallock, not from a desire of obtaining its riches and various treasures, though its riches were immense, but because it had always been the rendezvous and sally-port of the English and Geraldines in their contests against him. Before sunrise in the morning those who had gone to sleep happily and comfortably were aroused from their slumber by a furious attack made by the warlike troops of the Clann-Sweeny and Clann-Sheehy, who were along with James Mac Maurice; and they proceeded to divide among themselves its gold, silver, various riches, and valuable jewels, which the father would not have acknowledged to his heir, or the mother to her daughter, on the day before. They were engaged for the space of three days and nights in carrying away the several kinds of riches and precious goods, as cups and ornamented goblets, upon their horses and steeds, to the woods and forests of Etharlach, and sending others of them privately to their friends and companions. They then set fire to the town, and raised a dense, heavy cloud, and a black, thick, and gloomy shroud of smoke about it, after they had torn down and demolished its houses of stone and wood; so that Kilmallock became the receptacle and abode of wolves, in addition to all the other misfortunes up to that time.

 
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