A mile and a world apart

LESS than a mile apart, but according to a survey conducted by the All Ireland Research Observatory and commissioned by State agency Pobal to measure and compare the most advantaged areas on the island of Ireland, there is a world of a difference.

LESS than a mile apart, but according to a survey conducted by the All Ireland Research Observatory and commissioned by State agency Pobal to measure and compare the most advantaged areas on the island of Ireland, there is a world of a difference.

The most affluent neighbourhood in Kilkenny is Aylesbury, situated on the banks of the river Nore, next to the Sycamores and at the back of St Luke’s Hospital.

And the most disadvantaged area in both the city and county is just a mile across the city - indeed in the same parish of St Canice’s.

The Butts Green area, according to the survey comes in as the 25th most disadvantaged neighbourhood not just in the Republic of Ireland, but the entire island.

And in comparison to other parts of the country, the proximity between very affluent neighbourhoods and very disadvantaged ones is quite unique to Kilkenny.

The survey, conducted by the AIRO (All-Ireland Research Observatory) using the Pobal-commissioned 2011 HP Deprivation Index, makes for fascinating reading and has been produced to help guide future development plans and services for regions - and hopefully for those that need it most.

The Deprivation Index uses a series of factors to determine levels of advantage in areas - including the number of skilled professionals, level of education, employment, single parent households and all relevant data from the last two censi.

So it’s not necessarily what’s in your bank account that matters but its the lifestuyle you enjoy, ytour level of education and your prospects.

And the survey pin points areas of between 80-100 persons who live on streets, in townlands and other areas and concludes from the census data how advantaged they are.

It does not necessarily work off the demarcation lines that are used geographically, but of distinct neighbourhoods. Almost 400 separate areas were studied in Kilkenny city and county, with information gathered and accumulated to come up with the most affluent and most disadvantaged areas.

Indeed in the city area, one side of a street may be considered affluent while the other side of the same street may be considered below average. Such are the anomalies of any survey but take in the round the results are quite clear for Kilkenny.

The results of the national survey, published in The Irish Times show the changing face of Ireland between the last two census 2006 and 2011. It also shows how so many things have stayed the same.

The Kilkenny results, published specifically here for the first time, make for very interesting reading.

Kilkenny, in the main has not fared particularly well since the ‘06 census. Of course ‘06 was the height of the Celtic Tiger - and the intervening years should have brought greater prosperity. But it hasn’t. And Kilkenny has a particularly high unemployment rate and traditionally has had a low level of uptake of third level education.

Geographically much of the county is in the disadvantaged area - particularly along the border regions with Tipperary, Carlow and Waterford. Yet the border area with Laois fares considerably better judging by the survey.

Large tracts of land around Callan, Castlecomer and Johnstown are considered marginally below average or very disadvantaged.

It’s also similar in the very south of the county, with the only neighbourhood considered affluent south of Kilkenny city environs is around Thomastown.

Other areas around the county which have shown signs of affluence are the Grange/Burnchurch area, Muckalee, Freshford and a small pocket inside the border from Carrick on Suir.

Indeed North Kilkenny, if you consider a triangle from Freshford across to Muckalee and back towards the city is considered at least marginally above average if not affluent.

Overall, affluence in the county is, as one would expect, in the proximity of the city. And those areas are predominantly in the shadow of the city’s hospitals - St Luke’s and Aut Even. Also, if you were to take a linear approach along the main roads leading in to Kilkenny - Callan Road, Carlow Road and Waterford Road, many neighbourhoods are reported to enjoy a higher than average lifestyle.

Yet no Kilkenny area was adorned with an extremely affluent mark.

In terms of disadvantaged, the top three most disadvantaged areas in Kilkenny are in the city - the Butts green area, Hebron Road area, and an area of Newpark.

Outside the city, streets in Castlecomer and Graignanamanagh fared the worst.

The most well off communities are within five miles of Kilkenny city - and live notably on the main roads leading in to it from Freshford in particular, Castlecomer, through Clara and out to Callan. In terms of the three parishes in Kilkenny City, St Canices and St Johns - despite having the most disadvantaged areas - also have the areas of greater affluence with the affluent areas of St Patrick’s parish on the Castle Road and Kells Road and the far side of the ring road.