St Mary's Hall

St Mary's Hall, formerly St Mary's Church, High Street, Kilkenny was founded in the thirteenth century as the parish church of the City. In use as a Parish and Masonic Hall since the mid-20th century, it was purchased by Kilkenny Borough Council in 2010 with assistance from Kilkenny County Council and the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

The building is a cruciform 13th century stone structure with a later tower at its Western end; it sits in a substantial walled graveyard to the rear of High Street. The graveyard has recently been opened as a garden to the public; it contains many important tombs and monuments from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. The graves have been subject to vandalism in recent years. Two almshouses stand within the churchyard to the North of the church; these do not form part of the current project. 

The project comprises the conservation and refurbishment of the Hall and its re-use as a public facility/museum building. The brief for St Mary's is for a public museum displaying items from the National Museum of Ireland- probably an exhibition of casts of Irish High Crosses with associated explanations and/or an exhibition of Irish medieval figurative sculpture and carving. There is an additional requirement for some space to display items related to the history of the City of Kilkenny. 

It is intended to make the project a demonstration sustainability project. The status of the existing building materials and finishes controls the approach to the project; the church proper will not be subjected to excessive fluctuations of temperature.