11 Landscape, Heritage and Green Infrastructure

11 Landscape, Heritage and Green Infrastructure

County Kilkenny has a rich and varied built, natural and cultural heritage resource.  Landscapes, rivers, woodlands, hedgerows, geology, plants and animals are all part of our natural heritage. Archaeological sites and many other buildings and structures such as houses, shops, churches, bridges and mills are features of our built heritage. Our cultural heritage includes aspects of heritage, such as traditions, practices, knowledge and skills, which are an expression of our culture.

Kilkenny’s heritage is that which makes the county unique, what gives it its special character and its ‘sense of place’. It is a valuable economic resource. It is the basis for Kilkenny’s tourism industry, and brings significant economic benefits to the county. Heritage is also vital for the health, well-being and quality of life of communities.

  1. Natural Heritage

Natural heritage includes the variety of life we see around us every day, often referred to as biodiversity, including rivers and woodlands, hedgerows, mammals, birds and plants. It also includes geology and landscape. 

Our natural heritage provides significant economic benefits for the county. It underpins important economic sectors such as agriculture, tourism and recreation, and is a core component of the county’s green infrastructure. Protection of the county’s natural resources is regarded as necessary to sustain economic growth.

A number of areas in County Kilkenny have been identified as being of exceptional importance for wildlife at a national and/or international level. These areas are protected through national and European legislation and these sites have been designated as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) or Special Protection Areas (SPAs) under the EU Habitats and Birds Directives.

In addition, certain plant, animal and bird species found in the county are considered rare or vulnerable and are protected by Irish law.

The new Development Plan will seek to maintain the protection afforded to the designated sites and the ecological network in the current Development Plan.

  1. Landscape

"Landscape" is defined as an area whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors.  The landscape of County Kilkenny is a dynamic and valuable resource which incorporates all aspects of the natural, built and cultural heritage. Landscapes provide a sense of place and characterise the county for local residents and visitors alike both in terms of a place to live and also for recreational and tourism purposes.  A Landscape Character Assessment forms part of the current Development Plan. 

  1. Built Heritage

Built heritage includes all man-made features, buildings, and structures in the environment.  It includes our rich and varied archaeological and architectural heritage.

The historic, innovative or rare buildings and other man-made structures constructed by previous generations of Kilkenny inhabitants as homes or places of industry, commerce, defence, leisure or worship form the architectural heritage of the county. Protection is provided for this by the Planning and Development Acts 2000-2014 by way of the Record of Protected Structures (RPS) and Architectural Conservation Areas (ACAs). We have a legal responsibility to include a RPS in our Development Plan to protect buildings of special interest or significance.

 

There are 10 ACAs in the County and 9 ACAs in the City:

 

Architectural Conservation Areas

County Kilkenny

 

Kilkenny City

  1. Ballyragget
  1. City Centre
  1. Bennettsbridge
  1. Kilkenny Castle
  1. Callan
  1. St. Canice’s
  1. Castlecomer
  1. John Street
  1. Freshford
  1. Patrick Street
  1. Gowran
  1. Michael Street and Wolfe Tone Street
  1. Graiguenamanagh
  1. St. Mary’s
  1. Inistioge
  1. Lacken
  1. Johnstown
  1. Talbotsinch
  1. Thomastown

 

 

  1. Green Infrastructure

Open space forms an important part of the network of green spaces around us, sometimes referred to as our ‘green infrastructure’. ‘Green infrastructure’ planning can help us to plan for open space in the county as a central part of the planning process.

The multifunctional role of green infrastructure enhances opportunities for recreation and tourism, encourages new business to invest in the county and has a role in climate change adaptation. The current Development Plan identifies green infrastructure as a key strategic asset for the county.

 

 

Landscape, Heritage and Green Infrastructure
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