The OPW has been responsible for the conservation of St Francis Abbey, a National Monument since it came into state ownership in 1880. Kilkenny County Council is currently developing a new urban park, with St Francis Abbey at its centre. In this regard, the OPW is currently working with the Council to advance a strategy for managing and providing public access to the Abbey, which has been inaccessible for many decades. The Abbey Quarter redevelopment will ensure the site is reconnected to the heart of the historic city of Kilkenny, bringing people and life back to its surroundings.
As part of this process, the OPW has been working with the National Monuments Service in the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and supporting Kilkenny County Council in the preparation of a Conservation Management Plan for the historic structures on the Abbey Quarter site. The structures include St Francis Abbey, St Francis Well and the 13th Century City Walls, including Evans Turrett. The plan was formally adopted at last night’s Council meeting and a copy of the plan is available below:
The OPW has begun preliminary work on site including structural inspections and the preparation of a landscape design scheme for land immediately adjacent to the Abbey. It is also undertaking a trial stone cleaning of the medieval carved stone and stone masonry. In addition, inspections and reports from conservation architects, structural engineers and arborists have been undertaken. The reports highlighted the dangers posed by a number of trees adjacent to St Francis Abbey walls and with regret, the OPW took the decision to fell the Cherry trees and the Weeping Willow. To rectify the loss, Kilkenny County Council has taken cuttings of the Weeping Willow for propagation and these will be planted within the new landscape design scheme for the Abbey Park.
The OPW look forward to continued coordination between Kilkenny County Council and the National Monuments Service (DHLGH) in delivering the objectives presented in the Conservation Plan. The OPW’s ongoing investment in the maintenance and conservation of the Abbey Quarter Site will support the delivery of valuable public realm infrastructure for Kilkenny, thereby continuing to enhance the City for both residents and visitors alike.