Overwhelming case to confirm National Monument at Vicar St – An Taisce

15th May 2014
Press Release

An Taisce – The National Trust for Ireland, has presented a compelling historical and archaeological report to Minister for Heritage, Mr Jimmy Deenihan, asking him to confirm a National Monument at Vicar St, Kilkenny, and to issue a formal declaration under national monuments legislation.

Archaeological experts studying the recently exposed structural remains at 22 Vicar Street have documented a cut-stone window and a chimney dating to the late 1500s / early 1600s akin to those in Kilkenny’s well-known Rothe house. The experts, John Bradley and Cóilín Ó Drisceoil, have set out the justification for designation as a National Monument in a detailed 22 page report submitted today to the Minister.

The Renaissance period extended from the 14th century to the 17th century and Renaissance is an apt term to describe the new discovery at Vicar Street; Late Medieval could also be used. “Structural remains dating to this period are rare in Ireland and unquestionably worthy of being declared National Monuments and being preserved where they stand”, said Mark Clinton of An Taisce; “we have so few late 1500 / early 1600s structures the discovery at Vicar St is of national importance”.

“Thankfully after constructive dialogue between An Taisce and Kilkenny County Council the Renaissance / Late Medieval gable wall will now be retained”.

“An Taisce is now asking the Minister to confirm the presence of a National Monument: official designation is the right course to ensure protection for future generations”, noted Dr Clinton.

"It is of paramount importance to protect the ecclesiastical precincts of our ancient cathedrals. Similar historical ecclesiastical precincts, or closes, similar to that partially survives around St. Canice's are automatically afforded legislative protection across the Continent”, according to Dr Mark Clinton, adding that “such automatic legal protection is long overdue in Ireland and has been promised here for many years”.

“Fortunately, Minister Deenihan can, and we hope, will, provide that protection by means of a declaration.

It is also important to emphasise that pottery recovered during the recent archaeological excavations at Vicar Street included examples of an even earlier vintage. Leinster Cooking Ware, for example, dates to mid 12th/14th century. There is every likelihood, therefore, that very important objects and / or structural remains lie buried beneath the foundations of Nos. 20 - 22 Vicar Street.

ENDS

For further information, please call:

James Nix, Policy Director, An Taisce Tel: +353 86 8394129 Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications Chair, An Taisce Tel: +353 87 2411995

email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org

Local Association: