Courthouse gaol could be new Medieval Mile attraction

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Kilkenny’s recently-rejuvenated courthouse building could become a new addition to the list of ‘Medieval Mile’ tourist attractions.

Kilkenny’s recently-rejuvenated courthouse building could become a new addition to the list of ‘Medieval Mile’ tourist attractions.

Local councillor John Coonan has recently visited the gaol cells with town clerk Brian Tyrrell and caretaker of the courthouse Seamus Leahy, and says he was ‘blown away’ by what he saw. He now intends to seek the council’s backing at the next monthly meeting.

At present, the gaol structure remains largely in its original form. The expansive area has ten cells, nine of which still have their original doors.

One of the cells has its original bed and timber pillows. To the front of the building is the original prison warden’s rooms and office. All the flag floors remain intact.

The building has a long and rich history, with Grace’s Castle built in 1210, and part used as a jail since 1568. The courthouse was added in 1700, while in 2010, the building was bought by the court services, and then followed the extensive refurbishment and extension at a cost of €17 million.

“I believe this will add immeasurably to the plans for a Medieval Mile – this building is right at the heart of it, opposite Rothe House and beside the Smithwicks site,” says Cllr Coonan.

Contact has also been made with Gerry Nugent, CEO of the South-east Court Services, whose response to the idea has been positive.