Home > Services > Special Projects
As Gaeilge

Significant Developments in Kilkenny City

Kilkenny is to undergo significant development over the next five years which will transform your city into a top tourist destination and a major hub for investment and enterprise.

Kilkenny Borough and County Councils, in conjunction with Failte Ireland, are implementing a major tourism plan to drive economic and cultural development which will ultimately help the city flourish and result in job creation.

The plan involves investment of millions in the city's cultural heritage offering and infrastructure.


  • The development of a new €3 million Smithwick's Visitor Experience by Diageo.
  • A new national museum in the historic St. Mary's Church.
  • The upgrading and improvement of High Street, widening of footpaths and improvement of the public realm.
  • The development of a new city centre garden
  • The development of a new arts gallery at the Evans Home
  • The completion of 60 km of cycleways at a cost of €1m

Heritage Mile KilkennyAccording to Kilkenny Mayor Martin Brett the developmentworks will ensure a top class and engaging experience for visitors to Kilkenny. It will also create an awareness and appreciation by citizens of the heritage of the city, and present huge opportunities for local businesses. "We want Kilkenny to be a creative city, a celebratory city and a compact city - a place that will be a joy to live and do business in, and to visit as a tourist." the Mayor said.

Over the next four weeks the Kilkenny People will outline the major and exciting developments that will make your city easier to get around and one that you will be proud of.




An important newmuseumis to be created on the site of the historic St. Mary's Church in the centre of Kilkenny.

Kilkenny Borough Council has issued a notice of its intention to develop the Church - a protected structure - from a parish hall and Masonic lodge to a publicmuseum. St. Mary's is one of the most important historical sites in Ireland, a hidden heritage gemwith what is regarded as the best collection of medieval and renaissance tomb slabs in the country.

The renovation and restoration of St Mary's, based at St Mary's Lane, means that important pieces of Kilkenny's rich history which have been in storage for many years can nowbe showcased including the Liber Primus Kilkenniensis, (the First Book of Kilkenny, dating from 1231), the 1608 Charter of James 1, and the 1609 Charter which gave Kilkenny City status and a letter signed by William of Orange on July 19th 1690.

IIt will be a major newtourism attraction in the City and is being funded principally by Fáilte Ireland and also by the Borough and County Councils and the Civic Trust.

The proposed external and interior works include:

  • Repointing of stonework, re-roofing, and new window glazing.
  • New concrete and stone floor and the provision of a newgallery.
  • A new access staircase within the tower and the conservation and restoration of internal features and finishes.
  • The construction of a new extension on the site of, and to the same dimensions as, the original north aisle which will protect and display archaeological features.
  • An additional newextension to the eastern elevation of the church to be called the 'Kilkenny Room' for the public display of Kilkenny artefacts.

Deputy Mayor , Joe Reidy, believes that this will be a huge support to city centre Kilkenny as well as being the most significant restoration project being carried out anywhere in Ireland.


St. Mary's church was built in the late twelfth century as a chapel for the then newly constructed Kilkenny castle.

st marys church kilkennyThe graveyard at St. Mary's is of huge historical significance with many medieval and renaissance style tombs situated there. Some of these tombs contain the remains of many of Kilkenny's historically important families including the Rothe's and the Shee's.

The monument room in St. Mary's contains fascinating decorated stone memorials including two beautiful semi-detached stone, and alms houses dating from the 1840s. It also contains a number of memorials to the
Garvey, Watson, Archer, Murphy, Dunphy and Rothe families. The church celebrated its last service in 1951 and finally closed to worship in 1957. It has served the role of a parish hall since 1963.

The Freemasons have been part of Kilkenny life for generations. For the last 47 years, have been located on the first floor of St Mary's and will soon relocate to the Maltings.


High Street - the spine of Kilkenny's medieval mile - is to be transformed into an attractive, accessible thoroughfare linking Kilkenny Castle and St. Canice's Cathedral under exciting newplans.
However a planned programmeof works for High Street will transform the city into a more attractive and accessible tourist destination.

High Street will undergo a number of changes under the plan including:

  • Widening and repavement of footpaths and installation of newstreet furniture.
  • New public lighting, including feature lighting at strategic buildings.
  • The adoption of the design principles used to develop the Parade as a civic space on High St and Parliament Street, allowing shoppers and tourists more room to browse in comfort.
  • The provision of newsurfaces similar to the stretchfromthe Parade to the Town Hall.

In addition to the physical improvements, there will be new branding and signposting giving the medieval mile its own unique identity.This branding will help to tell the storyof Kilkenny along the medieval mile route.


Kilkenny is set for a major economic boost with the transformation of part of then old Smithwick's brewery in the centre of the city into a state-of-the-art, €3 million visitor experience.

The exciting new interactive Smithwick's Experience at St Francis Abbey brewery will attract thousands of additional tourists to Kilkenny and the south east annually, resulting in new jobs and spin-off businesses for the region.

More than 40 jobs will be created during the construction of the facility, due to open next spring, while 12 full-time jobs will be filled when the new visitor centre opens.

The tourist attraction is being put together by the same teamthat developed the Guinness Hop Store in Dublin, the largest paid for visitor attraction in Ireland, with 1.1 million people going through the door last year.

st francis abbeyAccording to tourism industry experts, the new Smithwick's Experience centre will be the single biggest visitor attraction in Kilkenny and the South East. It will be part of the Medieval Mile, an ambitious tourism plan which is being developed by Fáilte Ireland and the local authorities in Kilkenny. The Medieval Mile will stretch from Kilkenny Castle right down to St Canice's Cathedral.

In the new Smithwick's Experience visitors will learn about the medieval origins of brewing and the history of the 300-year-old brewing company starting with the arrival of John Smithwick to Kilkenny. They will also of course get to taste the pint!

underpins the company's commitment to Ireland and represents Diageo Ireland's largest capital expenditure announcement since the €153m expansion and redevelopment of the St James's Gate Brewery.The existing brewery will close at the end of this year, with all future production taking place at the company's new brewing centre of excellence at St James's Gate.

As well as the new visitor centre Kilkenny Borough Council has announced plans for a new 3rd level research and enterprise campus on the site to drive economic development in the city centre.
Masterplan proposals will be brought to elected representatives for their consideration on 7th October.

Refurbishment of Parade and Canal Square

Print Bookmark

Kilkenny Borough Council, City Hall, High Street, Kilkenny.
Tel: +353 (0) 56 7794500 | Fax: +353 (0) 56 7794509 | Email: info@kilkennycity.ie
Privacy | Disclaimer