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Civic Spaces at The Parade and Canal Square

Kilkenny Borough Council has restored the public amenity of the Parade and Canal Square to provide citizens and visitors with high quality civic open spaces which can be used and enjoyed for a wide range of passive or active recreation. These are public spaces, provided without charge, and free public access should be maintained. In exceptional circumstances a proposal to charge for an event may be considered.

Kilkenny Borough actively encourages the responsible use of these civic spaces as meeting places, performance venues, entertainment areas, or simply as places to sit and enjoy the views!

In order to assist anyone who might be thinking of planning an event we have designed an application form which is intended to help in the proper planning of the event. The application form is capable of use for large or small events and is intended to support you in making a success of your event.
We want you to ensure that your audience enjoys the event and we want to make sure that anyone using our civic spaces can do so in comfort and safety.

Parade by nightParade by Day

Johns Bridge Picture

"The Parade is a reconfigured public space on either side of the 12th century Kilkenny Castle. The Parade, which rises and tapers towards the entrance to the Castle and opens out to High Street and is held on either side by fine Georgian facades and mature trees, is cleared of car parking and unified by a continuous stone floor.
Canal Square, a more intimate space located alongside John's Bridge and overlooked by the Castle, is treated in a similar manner and a poured concrete path then extends along the river edge as far as the side entrance to the Castle grounds. The existing river wall is replaced with stainless steel railings opening up views to the river". (GKMP Architects)

Download Application Form for Permission to Use The Parade/Canal Square Civic Spaces (word doc.)


Kilkenny is arguably the pre-eminent medieval city in Ireland with its current layout clearly grounded in the city's medieval roots. Kilkenny Castle dominates the southern end of the city, sitting on the high bank overlooking the River Nore and dating back to 1192 when it was built by the Normans. The Butler family subsequently retained it for over 500 years, and then it was passed to the Irish Government as a national monument in 1967. William Marshall (Strongbow's son-in-law and Earl of Pembroke) oversaw the building and maintenance of the fortified city walls, one of the gates of which was located adjacent to the Castle.
The Parade stretches from the Castle to the junction with High Street and is the most important urban space in the City. This significance is clearly evident from the historical maps and photographs which show it as an uninterrupted space. The Mayor's Walk is also clearly distinguished in older maps, forming a tree-lined connection between Rose Inn Street and the Castle entrance. The Canal Square was not in existence at this point but later became a parking area and pedestrian entrance to the Canal Walk.
The Kilkenny City Centre Local Area Plan (adopted in 2005) clearly expressed the commitment of Kilkenny Borough Council to reinstate the Parade as the city's main urban space and to redevelop the Canal Square as a gateway to the Canal Walk.
The landscaping design for these spaces was required to recognize the inherent qualities of the spaces and to be sensitive to the historical and cultural context. The aim was to restore the Parade and the Canal Square to their full potential as civic meeting places for the city, where a variety of active civic uses could be promoted.
The project as completed has succeeded in meeting these aims. The Parade now has a narrower carriageway which has allowed the majority of the space to be pedestrianised and paved in granite. The Mayor's Walk (formerly the Gravel Walk) has been re-instated with a compacted gravel surface and the public toilets have been relocated into a new stand-alone kiosk structure removed from Rose Garden Wall. The Canal Square and Canal Walk have also been pedestrianised and re-paved. The street furniture and lighting design were also integral to the design and contribute to the restoration of these significant urban spaces.

Elliots Corner Picture





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Kilkenny Borough Council, City Hall, High Street, Kilkenny.
Tel: +353 (0) 56 7794500 | Fax: +353 (0) 56 7794509 | Email: info@kilkennycity.ie
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