Kilkenny needs a county museum.
That’s the call from local Green Party representatives.
Minister of State Malcolm Noonan, supported by city councillor Maria Dollard, has written to Kilkenny Civic Trust and the CEO of Kilkenny County Council to ask them to consider their proposal of a change in the remit of the Medieval Mile Museum towards a free-to-enter municipal museum.
A meeting to discuss same has also been requested.
Minister Noonan says; ‘While the Medieval Mile Museum has been an asset to the city and county, I do feel that it is underperforming due to its inability to be adaptable as a space to house collections, and the pay to enter model. A County Municipal Museum would most likely cost the same in terms of financial support but would be in a position to push for Museum Standards Accreditation and to act as a repository for many fascinating collections that would be of immense benefit to academics and schools, as well as having a strong tourist offering,’ said Minister Noonan.
He also said that the city has not yet realised the real value of St Mary’s, the graveyard, and its connection with the merchant families of Kilkenny, many of whom lived in mansions along High Street, Parliament Street and Patrick Street.
‘There are many fine examples of County Museums across the country. Indeed, we don’t have to go too far to see one such example in Carlow. It houses a wonderful collection and attracts many visitors each year. The graveyard of St Mary’s alone is one of the finest in the country, containing many important funerary monuments that connect the great names of Shee, Archer and Rothe to their houses in the city. It’s a fascinating story that needs to be told,’ said Minister Noonan.
His colleague Councillor Maria Dollard said that changing the operation of the Medieval Mile Museum towards a County Museum made absolute sense and represented value for money for the local authority who subsidise the museum. ‘I think that there is huge untapped potential in having a museum in the heart of the city that can paint a fuller picture of the story of the city and county. There are so many collections around the county that could find a home in a municipal museum and provide a wonderful resource to schools in particular’ she said.
Both Minister Noonan and Councillor Dollard are hopeful that consideration will be given to the proposal and are of the view that it could provide an economic boost to the old city centre, as well as a much stronger heritage asset that encompasses the entire site of St Mary’s, including a small ‘pocket park’ around the graveyard for people to enjoy.
Meanwhile, hear what he told KCLR News’ Edwina Grace about this yesterday (from approx 3’30” in):