October 21, 2021
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New ‘Medieval Kilkenny Experience’ to attract 100,000 more visitors to city

A new ‘world-class’ medieval attraction will bring up to 100,000 new visitors to Kilkenny city, Fáilte Ireland announced this week.

Kilkenny County Council and Kilkenny Civil Trust has been awarded €3.2 million to develop the new Medieval Kilkenny Experience.

The new attraction will encompass the historic Town Hall (Tholsel), the existing Medieval Mile Museum and the churchyard of St Mary’s. It will be the first time the Dungeon and Clock Tower will be accessible to the public.

A new brand and interpretive scheme will unify the entire complex and will use fun, humour and ‘horrible history’ style stories to appeal to a wider variety of visitors.

It is intended the major new attraction, which has an expected opening date of Spring 2023, will help to re-establish the historic city centre as the essential highlight of any visit to Ireland’s Ancient East.

The multi-level Tholsel will use interpretive displays and exhibits to bring the story of medieval Kilkenny to life, from the darker side of history in the basement right up to the original Clocktower on the upper levels.

The outdoor areas surrounding St Mary’s Church will be landscaped and an outdoor play space and covered seating for a coffee kiosk will also be introduced within the churchyard. In St Mary’s Church, the interpretation will be revised to integrate with the new overarching brand and interpretive concept. The central map table will be made mobile to allow for large events in the nave, and the Kilkenny room will be adapted to allow for events and venue hire.

Fáilte Ireland Product Development Manager Rory McCarthy said: Developing must-visit attractions for domestic and international visitors is a key part of our recovery post COVID. The Medieval Kilkenny Experience will be a flagship attraction that will bolster and enhance Kilkenny’s existing tourist offering, giving visitors a new and exciting insight into the history of the City and encouraging them to spend longer in the area.”

The Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council, Councillor, Fidelis Doherty, added: “We are delighted with today’s announcement of funding for this exciting new tourist attraction for Kilkenny. Heritage and cultural assets such as the Tholsel give us the opportunity to preserve our traditions for future generations. The investment in this restoration project will provide an opportunity, through best conservation practice, to interpret and understand our history. We look forward to delivering a top-class family attraction for both our domestic and international visitors. We would like to thank Fáilte Ireland for their continued support in delivering this and many other projects for Kilkenny.”

Ciaran Conroy, Chief Executive of Kilkenny Civic Trust said: “The Medieval Kilkenny Experience will add yet another world-class visitor experience to Kilkenny’s rich tourism and heritage offering. We look forward to working closely with Fáilte Ireland and Kilkenny County Council on this project and continuing to develop the unique tourism offering of the city.” di

PHOTO: ‘Medieval Kilkenny’ by the artist, Val Byrne 

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