Kilkenny proposal to demolish archaeologically important Manse House for road scheme under further fire.

2nd November 2013
Press Release

EU to investigate Kilkenny road scheme.

EU Directorate General for the Environment has written to Independent MEP, Nessa Childers, confirming that it will investigate Kilkenny County Council’s proposal to demolish houses in Vicar Street, in Kilkenny City, to make way for a new road.

Ms Childers had written to the EU Environment Commissioner, Janez Potocnik, in support of a formal complaint made to the EU by Ms. Shirley O’Brien and Councillor Malcolm Noonan, a member of Kilkenny County Council. The complaint stated that the proposed demolition of 20-22 Vicar Street, Kilkenny, to make way for a proposed Central Access Scheme, could breach the EU Directive on Environmental Impact Assessments.

The scheme will reduce tourism revenue in Kilkenny notes An Taisce.

On one hand Fáilte Ireland and Kilkenny County Council is investing €5.5 million on traffic-calming and pedestrianising the ‘Medieval Mile’ that runs between St Canice's Cathedral and Kilkenny Castle. On the other they intend to split the ‘Medieval Mile’ with a heavily trafficked road and to demolish buildings that are integral to the historic Kilkenny that they are promoting.

Furthermore, they are coming into conflict with EU law.

“It is difficult to image a more counter-productive proposal from the point of view of revenue-generating tourist visits to Kilkenny and the €5.5million investment on the Medieval Mile", according to An Taisce the National Trust for Ireland.

An Tasice once more calls for the Manse House to be declared a National Monument.

Recent archaeological work has identified the remains of a Medieval Manse house at 20-22 Vicar Street, which is clearly an integral part of the St. Canice’s Cathedral complex. It fulfils all the criteria to qualify as a National Monument due to its historical, archaeological, architectural and cultural nature.

Once more, An Taisce calls on Jimmy Deenihan T.D., the Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to declare it as such without delay.

ENDS

For further information, please call:

Cóilín O Driscéoil, Kilkenny Archaeology, +353 86 8392148

Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce +353 87 2411995

Email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org

An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland

www.antaisce.ie

Notes

  • Kilkenny got its name from the church-site of St. Canice (Cill Chainnigh).

  • The outline of the Early Medieval enclosure around the original 7th century church can be seen in the street pattern around the Cathedral hill (just like in Armagh).

  • The Cathedral was built in the mid to late 13th century. The adjacent Round Tower is a little earlier (early 12th century).

  • A number of ancillary buildings would have been built around the Cathedral to house the clergy and other church officials.

  • Manse houses were built to house the clergy from out-lying parishes who served as members of the Canons of the Cathedral. These buildings were thus integral parts of the Cathedral complex.

  • One of these Medieval manse houses was the residence of the cleric from the parish of Tascoffin.

  • In spite of statements from Kilkenny County Council that the buildings on Vicar Street were of ‘no heritage value’ the remains of this house have just been discovered.

  • The north gable of the mid 16th-mid 17th century building, 5m in height, was hidden in the fabric of a later building on Vicar Street.

  • The shouldered chimney flue is identical to that of Rothe House – one of Kilkenny’s prime tourist attractions.

  • There is now a very reasonable expectation that substantial remains of the lower elements of the entire building will be uncovered. Thus a fine new tourist attraction would be created along Kilkenny’s ‘Medieval Mile’ (which extends from the castle to the cathedral)

  • €5.5m tourism investment announced in Kilkenny The money will be invested in a new “Medieval Mile” project and is just the first phase in a €15 million development package planned over the next four years. The Journal 30/10/2012