The National Enterprise Town Awards: Kilkenny

We are profiling all the towns to enter this year’s National Enterprise Town Awards. Today we are looking at Kilkenny.

Situated at the heart of Ireland’s ancient east, Kilkenny is a cosmopolitan city with a rich medieval heritage and a population of 26,512 – the third-fastest-growing town in the country.

Kilkenny’s foundation began with an early sixth century ecclesiastical settlement, with a church built in honour of St. Canice. Now St. Canice’s Cathedral, this was a major monastic centre from at least the eighth century.

The Annals of the Four Masters recorded the first reference Cill Chainnigh in 1085. Prehistoric activity has been recorded, suggesting intermittent settlement activity in the area in the Mesolithic and Bronze Age. Information on the history of Kilkenny can be found from newspapers, photographs, letters, drawings, manuscripts and archaeology. Kilkenny is documented in manuscripts from the 13th century onwards and one of the most important of these is Liber Primus Kilkenniensis.

Another interesting fact is that Kilkenny was the site of Ireland’s earliest recorded witch trial. Occurring in 1324, the trial involved Dame Alice de Kyteler and her servant Petronella de Meath. Petronella would be the first person recorded in Ireland to be burned alive at the stake for witchcraft, after Dame Alice presumably fled the country

Home to the famous medieval mile, stretching from Kilkenny Castle to St Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny is an award-winning location with a superior quality of life, and was deservedly voted the 9th friendliest city in the world.

Kilkenny is a place where business succeeds; a unique commercial location that supports indigenous businesses and start-ups while attracting high-calibre multinationals such as State Street, Glanbia, VHI, Banking 365 and The Taxback Group.

With excellent infrastructure, the city has the capacity to deliver sustainable economic growth through the development of the Abbey Quarter. The city’s future expansion areas of Loughmacask and the Western Environs have capacity for circa 4,800 homes, enabling growth within the overall concept of a 10-minute city: an attractive location for people to live, work and play.

Kilkenny has around 142 community and voluntary groups, from large charitable organisations to small residents groups, providing a wealth of activities including art, sports and recreation, heritage, women’s groups, men’s groups, education programmes, childcare and afterschool programmes and community gardens.

Home of the famous Kilkenny Cats hurling team, Kilkenny offers a vibrant sporting and cultural lifestyle. World-renowned festivals take place throughout the year and international stars perform at its unique range of theatre and concert venues, including The Set, Watergate Theatre, Cleere’s Theatre, The Barn and Nowlan Park.

A creative hotspot, the city is home to the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland, Lighthouse Studios and the four-time Oscar-nominated Cartoon Saloon. As an age-friendly business city, it boasts countless boutiques, shops and shopping centres and an abundance of gourmet eateries including Michelin Star restaurant Campagne. Kilkenny was voted Foodie Destination of the Year 2018.

Written by Stephen Larkin

Published: 1 October, 2019