Monday 12th and Wednesday 14th June 2023.

The Museum of Childhood Ireland was delighted to facilitate engagement by local children in Kilkenny with this wonderful town planning and heritage resource, which is anticipated to transform how Ireland’s historic towns are planned and managed. #EngageKilkenny is a digital, public engagement platform designed, developed and managed by the Heritage Council’s CTCHC Programme and GeoTech Innovations (GTI), Cork, a software start-up.

#EngageKilkenny won a national award from Digital Towns Awards 2023 in May 2023 – the new App #EngageKilkenny was national runner up in the Digital Newcomer Category. It is envisaged that this proof of concept will be strengthened by planned engagement with local schools, which is at the heart of the overall aims and objectives of the project and also the project team’s collaborative ethos.

Information on the CTCHC Programme, the Putting Town Centres First podcast, information on SDGs were sent to the school for discovery on the day following the online workshop, and before the in-person event in Kilkenny city took place. 

We ran an engagement project online (pre event), and in-person with Primary school children from CBS National School in Kilkenny. 

The workshops aimed to gauge the levels of interest there would be in engaging with the new App, which the CTCHC Programme has developed as the pilot scheme for a potential national roll-out. The interactive App cleverly explores the rich ‘Time-Depth’ of Kilkenny’s historic town centre. The App is interesting, and easy to read and use.

Understanding how embracing the App works for young people and how they may wish to help gather vital socio-historic information from parents / grandparents suitable for uploading is vitally important . 

What do they actually want and need in relation to this? Does it deliver? Are modifications needed to make it more acceptable or inclusive? Are there any further possibilities that this could deliver? How can children/youth really get involved?

There is huge potential to digitally engage children and families in Ireland in the rich history of our historic towns through the national pilot – but to do this they need to ‘own’ it, to be excited by the prospect of it. We know that by listening to, engaging children and youth on all aspects of our culture and heritage, and facilitating action, spells a positive future for all the community, for all of us. 


Fourth class in CBS NS, Kilkenny took part in a workshop on buildings, environment, climate and heritage in Kilkenny, preparatory to the introduction of the Engage Kilkenny App. We also sought their views on a few subjects before we began. This helped us to understand how the new App, #EngageKilkenny might be of use in the community.

Beginning with an introduction, then an Evaluation, the online Presentation by the Museum of Childhood Ireland and Jamie McNamara, SPAB, to the children focused on meaningful participation in building regeneration / conservation in Kilkenny.

The discussion following posed the question of conservation and how it has such a vital part to play in the regeneration and uplift of our local towns, and the role that children have in this to be leaders in their community.

The delivery of the workshop throughout was fully cognisant of the age group of the audience, making it a fun and interesting workshop for the children.

The group of children were highly engaged and responsive as to what they loved / didn’t love about Kilkenny city.

They understood dereliction and causes of  it.

They offered solutions.

They understood climate change and causes.

They offered solutions.

They understood reuse and green practices. 

They offered further examples.

50% understood SDGs and were able to offer examples of their understanding. 

The group were able to relate to Kilkenny’s past from both a socio historic perspective and a wider historical perspective.

In-Person Event Day, Kilkenny City

Joining us on the day:

Alison Harvey, CTCHC The Heritage Council

Cllr Maria Dollard, Green Party, County Councillor

Harry Reid, Photographer 

Cóilín Ó’Drisceoil, Archeologist, National Monuments Service, Dept of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.  

Dr Harry Shier -Child Rights and  Participation at the MoCI

Majella McAllister-Director, MoCI 

The Children and two teachers from CBS NS Kilkenny 

The children’s walking tour in Kilkenny City was led by Cóilín O’Drisceoil. From a starting and finishing point at the Medieval Mile Museum, the tour included references to skeletons, war, bloodshed, noticing when old stone is reused in buildings, and reminders from the children to LuLo ( Look up and Look out -from Monday’s online presentation!) 

Medieval Kilkenny was the focus from a built heritage perspective. It is the mediaeval character that singles out Kilkenny from other Irish cities and the surviving integrity evidenced in street fabric and place names. The early urban buildings and gardens are particular in Kilkenny as they are of early origins, very different building types and their design influenced by French Renaissance architecture brought to Kilkenny by the Butler family.

The acquisition of lands from the dissolution of the monasteries prompted the development of the city’s fabric from 1546 onwards. St. Francis friary, religious house, Evan’s tower, two mediaeval bridges and stone lined watercourse.

Irishtown Nos. 2- 6, 10 are early urban buildings C16th/17th

The Shee Almshouse on Rose Inn Street, recently conserved, is an excellent starting point (1580 –  1585). Rothe House and garden (1590 – 1615).The  earliest site of the Tholsel (1619) and its loggia

Nos. 42 & 43 Parliament Street(rear of) C16th/17th houses with water spouts and carved window mullions evident accessible from Horse Barrack Lane, C16th /17th ranges to the rear of 19 – 21 Parliament Street, 19 Friary Street C16th/17th (fabric of the former gatehouse associated with city wall to be confirmed) 91/93 armorial plaque indicates the substantial townhouse residence of Henry Shee fronting the mediaeval High Street 1580’s

The restoration of Charles II to the throne in 1660 initiated a period of peace and prosperity which gave rise to the French quarter vision in Kilkenny.

St. Mary’s Parish Church and graveyard memorialsSubsequent city development c. 1700’s is illustrated by 85 High Street, with early handmade brickworks and flush window frames 6/6 sashes. Note. The vertical sliding sash is thought to have been brought to Ireland by the Butlers and the fenestration to 85 High Street is extremely important as it is  a rare surviving example.

Pair of C.18th Gothic tea house/boat houses to the rear of the courthouse house which provided access to the amenity of the river recently restored.

The beautiful walk on a fine sunny day was rounded off with a ‘shop local’ experience at Scrumdiddlys, where the children were treated to an ice cream of their choice ( and a slushy for one dairy intolerant child) before they reluctantly left us to go back to school. A group photo was taken for the school and for children to bring home.

Project team: Majella McAllister – Museum of Childhood Ireland

Sonia Sartor – Museum of Childhood Ireland

Kayla  D’Amato-QUB, Museum of Childhood Ireland

Warren McAllister ( IT support) – Museum of Childhood Ireland

Dr Harry Shier – Museum of Childhood Ireland 

With Jamie McNamara – SPAB