During Kilkenny County Council’s budget debate Cllr Malcolm Noonan demanded that funding be put in place to complete the Talbot Tower project in time for the 2016 tourism season and to open it up to the people of Kilkenny.
At the meeting Cllr Noonan said that the project was 90% complete and that funding landscaping works coupled with the installation of interpretative signage could see Talbot’s Tower opened early in 2016.
‘It’s a gardening job; I cannot understand what is holding it up’ said Cllr Noonan. ‘I have spoken to staff on the issue and it is my understanding that seven interpretative panels that were commissioned through our Heritage office are almost completed. This would then require an interim landscaping job that could be easily be done in house by our outdoor staff. It would be wonderful to create a little pocket park at this location in the City’ he said.
Talbot’s Tower restoration was commissioned by the former Borough Council and the project was overseen by former Councillor Betty Manning with the support of the Irish Walled Towns Network and the Heritage Council. It was to form part of a more expansive project to enhance the remaining sections of town wall in Kilkenny and to raise awareness among the wider community of the significance of the town defences from the 11th and 12th centuries.
At the budget meeting the CEO of Kilkenny County Council gave assurances to Cllr Noonan that the €27,000 committed in the 2016 budget would be met by further commitment in the capital budget that would ensure the project would be completed in 2016.
‘I see no reason why Talbot’s Tower could not be opened by March 2016 at the latest’ said Cllr Noonan. ‘This is one of Kilkenny’s most significant heritage assets; one which was almost lost to us. With St Mary’s Museum due to open later in 2016, I believe that Talbot’s Tower and other sections of town wall have a unique story to tell about the foundation of our City and can add to the myriad of heritage sites but more importantly open the site up for people to enjoy. I am encouraged by the commitment given to me at our budget meeting that the long wait may soon be over’ he concluded.