Mayor unveils first piece of new city wall ‘outline’

THE FIRST segment of a new cobble and limestone footpath paving, which traces the original route of Kilkenny’s historic city walls, was unveiled by Mayor David Fitzgerald last Thursday.

THE FIRST segment of a new cobble and limestone footpath paving, which traces the original route of Kilkenny’s historic city walls, was unveiled by Mayor David Fitzgerald last Thursday.

The section, comprising coloured cobblestones and limestone blocks inscribed with ‘City Wall c. 1275’, is located on Ormonde Road near Talbot Tower. The distinctively-designed paving is to eventually run around the entire city, crossing roads and footpaths alike, intersecting some of Kilkenny’s most-historic quarters including Friary Street, James’ Street and the Black Abbey area.

The project is based on a similar concept in Berlin, Germany where the city government has marked the former route of the Berlin Wall with a row of cobblestones in the street. At last month’s meeting of Kilkenny Borough Council, Mayor Fitzgerald had proposed that a similar initiative be carried out in Kilkenny. He received support from the other members, and the first piece has now been completed.

“This is part-information, part-heritage,” he said.

“It is to be marked on the ground everywhere the wall crossed the city. There are still some very small sections of the original wall intact, at the back of Superquinn and Abbey Street, but the majority has been demolished.

“This is part of a trend to renew and to make people more aware of it.”

The mayor said he would be interested to see how the public respond to the initial segment. The scheme has very little expense attached to it, as it is to be implemented only as individual areas undergo footpath and road renewal anyway.

“It is extremely cheap to do,” he said.

“The cobblestones are all recycled, and the limestone is recycled too - it was in the council yard.”

The City Walls steering committee has been trying to create more awareness of Kilkenny’s historic walls, on the back of important archaeological work taking place on Talbot Tower since 2006. Later on this year, as part of the City Walls project, the Talbot Tower pocket park will be completed and opened to the public.

“Kilkenny has been one of the leading lights in that project,” said the Mayor.

“This could become part of the walking tour of the city.”