Highlighting the city’s past with technology of the future

Visitors to Kilkenny now have an easier time finding their way around the city thanks to a set of signposts and information panels pointing the way to historic landmarks.

Visitors to Kilkenny now have an easier time finding their way around the city thanks to a set of signposts and information panels pointing the way to historic landmarks.

Three of the eight monoliths, as they are known, are already in place at the Parade, on High Street at the entrance to the Butterslip and near the Bank of Ireland building.

In addition to the information on the posts, each one features a QR code that will be set up to give additional information that can be accessed on a smartphone, and the aim in the coming months is to provide civic WiFi that will make it even easier.

The signage includes four elements: the eight monoliths, street signs, information panels at the city’s main landmarks, and orientation panels that will mark each ceantar, or district, including St John’s, St Canice’s and Irishtown.

“It’s way-finding as much as signage,” explained Kilkenny Borough Council senior executive officer Brian Tyrrell. The aim, he said, is “to give people enough information to get them around Kilkenny to see the places they want to see and to give them an indication of how far away things are in terms of minutes walking.”

The monoliths are designed to be wheelchair-friendly and also include Braille.

And rather than including extensive written information in English, they are based around visual icons representing each of the landmark buildings, with arrows guiding visitors to them so they can be understood in any language. And the aim of the QR codes is to provide information in a variety of languages into the future.

“This is down the line, but our ambition is that we will be able to take advantage of all of the visual technology and the language aspects, so you would be able to press 1 for Italian, for example,” Mr Tyrrell said. “We have tried to future-proof the technology.”

It is also planned to have smaller directional signs posted on ESB poles, for example, “to let you know that you are still on the right track.”

Having started with the Parade, the signs are being put in place along High Street and towards St Canice’s Cathedral to show visitors to Kilkenny Castle that it’s only a short manageable stroll to the cathedral and the sights in between.

The panels are also designed so that they can be switched out to make room for information about Kilkenny’s many festivals, for example, and they already point the way to public toilets and bus stops.

“We are trying to bring people from Kilkenny Castle to the High Street, and trying to get them to walk that distance from the castle to St Canice’s Cathedral,” Mr Tyrrell said. “We want to give them enough information on the signs to let them know it’s worth their while going there and showing them how to get there.”