Back row L to R: Colette Byrne, Simon Walton (Project Manager), Maurice Mythen, Ruth O'Helihy, Niall McCulogh, Beatric Kelly, Hollie Kearns, Sean O'hArgain, Evelyn Graham, Ian Coulter, J Culleton
Kilkenny County Council has announced the commencement of works to enable the refurbishment of Evan's Home and to bring the building back into public use by the prestigious Butler Gallery.
The development delivers a significant new area of public open spaces which will include a Childrens' Garden, an Archaeological Garden, a Sculpture Garden and a direct connection from John Street through the site to the Lady Desart Pedestrian Bridge.
Having completed preliminary design, planning, detailed design and tender processes the Council entered into a contract for the redevelopment works with Mythen Construction Limited on Monday, May 21.
Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council Councillor David Fitzgerald said 'Evan's Home is a significant building in Kilkenny City's history and the broader Evan's Home site is rich in archaeological heritage. Notwithstanding that, the site has been largely hidden from the general public for nearly thirty years. I welcome the commencement of works on this project as it will ensure that the site is brought back into public use, will provide for effective interpretation of the site's history and, in addition to the refurbishment of the building, will also provide for a significant, new public space in Kilkenny City.'
The total value of the project is €5.5million, €2million of which is being funded by the Department of Arts, €1.135m by Failte Ireland and the balance of €2.365m to be funded by Kilkenny County Council.
Colette Byrne, Chief Executive of Kilkenny County Council stated that 'without the financial support from Failte Ireland and the Department of Arts the Council would not be able to commit to this project. However, with their support, a huge opportunity arises to add another string to Kilkenny's bow in terms of sensitive, yet effective, re-use of the heritage assets in this City.'
Once complete the refurbished Evan's Home will be occupied and operated by the Butler Gallery, currently located in Kilkenny Castle. Anna O'Sullivan is Director of the Butler Gallery and said; 'this is a hugely important day for the Butler Gallery. This journey began in 2004 and it is gratifying that we will now realise a new home for the Butler Gallery.
"We have a successful 75 year history in cultural programming and we look forward to a future of providing the residents of Kilkenny, and the visitors to our City, with a distinctly stimulating venue for a diverse range of exhibitions, collections, learning and public engagement programmes.'
The works are likely to commence on or about Monday, June, 11 and will take approximately 15 months to complete. Over and above the refurbishment of the Evan's Home building the development delivers a significant new area of public open spaces which will include a Childrens' Garden, an Archaeological Garden, a Sculpture Garden and a direct connection from John Street through the site to the Lady Desart Pedestrian Bridge. For the duration of the works the site compound will be located to the rear of the Carnegie Library resulting in the loss of some parking spaces whilst the development is completed.