17 May 2022

BREAKING: Kilkenny Tholsel to be developed into a 'world-class visitor attraction'

Kilkenny County Council has been offered €3.2 million to develop the experience

BREAKING: Kilkenny Tholsel to be developed into a 'world-class visitor attraction'

Photo: Dylan Vaughan

Fáilte Ireland, in partnership with Kilkenny County Council and Kilkenny Civil Trust, has today announced funding for the new Medieval Kilkenny Experience, a world-class visitor attraction.

Under Fáilte Ireland’s Large Capital Grants Scheme 2016, Kilkenny County Council has been offered €3.2 million to develop the experience, increasing visitor spend and supporting jobs in the city centre.  

The new attraction will encompass the historic Town Hall (Tholsel), the existing Medieval Mile Museum and the churchyard of St Mary’s. This will be the first time the dungeon and clocktower will be accessible to the public. 

A new brand and interpretive scheme will unify the entire complex and will use fun, humour and ‘horrible history’ style stories to appeal to a wider variety of visitors.

The multi-level Tholsel will use interpretive displays and exhibits to bring the story of medieval Kilkenny to life, from the darker side of history in the basement right up to the original clocktower on the upper levels.  

The outdoor areas surrounding St Mary’s Church will be landscaped and an outdoor play space and covered seating for a coffee kiosk will also be introduced within the churchyard.

In St Mary’s Church, the interpretation will be revised to integrate with the new overarching brand and interpretive concept.

The central map table will be made mobile to allow for large events in the nave, and the Kilkenny room will be adapted to allow for events and venue hire.  

It is intended this major new attraction, which has an expected opening date of Spring 2023, will help to re-establish the historic city centre as the essential highlight of any visit to Ireland’s Ancient East. 

Commenting on the announcement, Rory McCarthy, Product Development Manager at Fáilte Ireland said that "developing must-visit attractions for domestic and international visitors is a key part of our recovery post-Covid." 

Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council, Councillor Fidelis Doherty added, "We are delighted with today’s announcement of funding for this exciting new tourist attraction for Kilkenny. Heritage and cultural assets such as the Tholsel give us the opportunity to preserve our traditions for future generations.

"We would like to thank Fáilte Ireland for their continued support in delivering this and many other projects for Kilkenny."

Ciaran Conroy, Chief Executive of Kilkenny Civic Trust said: "The Medieval Kilkenny Experience will add yet another world-class visitor experience to Kilkenny’s rich tourism and heritage offering. We look forward to working closely with Fáilte Ireland and Kilkenny County Council on this project and continuing to develop the unique tourism offering of the City."


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