State to pay €1.1m for heritage church and graveyard in Kilkenny city
The State is to pay the Church of Ireland €1.1 million for a derelict church and graveyard in the heart of Kilkenny’s medieval city centre. Local TD John McGuinness said Government funding had been secured to acquire St Mary’s Church, which he described as “a fantastic asset for the national heritage” which would “add greatly to Kilkenny’s tourism offering”.
St Mary’s is situated along a trail of the country’s most intact medieval urban architecture, midway between Kilkenny Castle and St Canice’s Cathedral. The church has not been used for worship since the 1960s, and has fallen into disrepair. An Taisce and the Heritage Council have expressed alarm at its deterioration.
An Taisce said the 13th century church was “at the centre of affairs in the city during the medieval period”, and that the graveyard contains “internationally important” funerary monuments, “acclaimed as unique examples of Irish Renaissance architecture”.