Survey Data

Reg No

12000165


Rating

National


Categories of Special Interest

Architectural Artistic Historical Social


Original Use

College


In Use As

Town/county hall


Date

1780 - 1785


Coordinates

250945, 155919


Date Recorded

16/06/2004


Date Updated

--/--/--


Description

Attached seven-bay three-storey Classical-style college, built 1782, originally detached on site of earlier college, 1667, with eight-bay three-storey side elevations. Extensively renovated, 1994, to accommodate use as county hall. Hipped slate roof on a quadrangular plan behind parapet with clay ridge tiles, rendered chimney stacks on axis with ridge, and concealed cast-iron rainwater goods. Unpainted replacement rendered walls, 1994, with limestone ashlar dressings including quoins to corners, stringcourses to each floor, and band to eaves supporting moulded cornice having balustraded parapet. Square-headed window openings with cut-limestone sills forming sill course, carved cut-limestone surrounds, six-over-six and three-over-three (top floor) timber sash windows (some replacement, 1994). Round-headed door opening in tripartite arrangement with two cut-limestone steps, cut-limestone pilaster doorcase having frieze, timber panelled door having decorative sidelights, and peacock-tail fanlight. Interior remodelled, 1994, retaining timber panelled shutters to some window openings. Set back from road in own grounds.

Appraisal

An impressive large-scale college rebuilt to designs attributed to Charles Vierpyl (fl. 1782-8) on the site of an earlier (1667) counterpart established by James Butler (1610-88), first Duke of Ormonde, in the mid seventeenth century, therefore representing a long-standing occupation of the grounds by one of the earliest-surviving purpose-built educational facilities in the locality. Classically-proportioned with openings diminishing in scale on each floor the college forms an elegant landmark in the townscape of Kilkenny although slightly obscured on account of the position set well back from the line of the road. Incorporating refined, if spare detailing the college features limestone accents displaying expert stone masonry with particular emphasis on an enriched doorcase regarded as one of the best in the county including a delicate fanlight of considerable design significance. Despite extensive renovation works to accommodate an alternative function including the construction of a wing of little inherent architectural merit (not included in record) some of the early character of the original block survives intact, thereby maintaining the position of the site as an artefact of national significance in the built legacy of Kilkenny City.