Smithwicks Brewery Site

Time line of Master planning process to date:

2012: Kilkenny County Council made decision to purchase the site from Diageo.

December 2012-February 2013- Architects invited to participate in a colloquium.  An Urban Design Review Report was published as a result and is available here.

May 2013: A Special Joint Meeting of Kilkenny Borough Council and Kilkenny County Council was held to outline the results of that Urban Design Review and the presentations are available to view via youtube.

Summer 2013: Tender process, and Reddy Architecture and Urbanism were appointed to draw up a Draft Masterplan.

Novermber 2013: Draft Masterplan published, submissions invited until Friday the 13th of December.

5th November 2013: Public meeting held in City Hall.

December 2013: 38 submissions received to the Masterplan from members of the public and statutory authorities.

November 2014: The Chief Executive Officer's Report on the Submissions was submitted to the County Council at the November Council Meeting. As a direct result of the submissions, the Council committed to review the Draft Masterplan by carrying out further work and assessment in relation to archaeology and impacts on the environment.

January 2015: Two public consultation workshop weekends were held in the Ormonde Hotel, in addition to a Comhairle na nOg workshop held in County Hall. In total 222 people attended these events and contributed towards establishing the new Vision for the Masterplan.

March 2015: Report on Public Consultation is published outlining the work from the workshops and summarising the 71 written submissions received. 

May 2015: Public Engagement and Feedback Event is held in the Ormonde Hotel. Presentations are given by a consultant archaeologist, an environmental consultant and officials of Kilkenny County Council.  A SWOT analysis of the emerging plan layout is conducted in a group based workshop.  54 people attended.

June 2015: Draft Masterplan is placed on public display for 4 weeks.  54 submissions are received.

July 2015: Chief Executive's Report is published summarising the submissions received and recommending changes to the Masterplan.  At the Special Council meeting on the 31st July, Kilkenny County Council approved the (non-statutory) Masterplan for the Abbey Creative Quarter.


Background Material

View the proposed Urban Design Framework/Masterplan for Abbey Creative Quarter, Kilkenny (November, 2013)

Read the Press release dated 1st September 2014

View a copy of the presentation on the proposed masterplan, dated 7th October, 2013

View a copy of Preliminary Study to Assess Potential for Retention, Temporary Retention and Demolition of Structures at St. Francis Abbey Brewery Site, Kilkenny (Reddy Architecture and Urbanism, May 2013)

View the Appropriate Assessment Screening Report , dated March 2014.


Presentations to the Smithwicks Site Colloquium (5th February 2013)

Shelley McNamara - Grafton Architects

Anthony Reddy - Reddy Architecture

Sean Harrington-Seán Harrington Architects & Urban Design

Niall Mccollough - McCullough Mulvin Architects

Michelle Fagan-President at RIAI

Martin Colreavy- Principal Advisor. Built Heritage and Architectural Policy, DAHG.

Paul Keogh of Paul Keogh Architects - presentation to the Smihwicks Site Colloquium  - recorded May 2013

Peter Cox- Carraig Conversation -Presentation to the Smithwicks Site Colloquium - Recorded June 2013

James Nugent- Managing Director , Lisney- Presentation to the Smithwicks  Site Colloquium- recorded June 2013

Chris Boyle- UCD School of Architecture -Presentation to the Smithwicks  Site Colloquium- recorded June 2013



Special Joint Meeting Kilkenny Borough Council /Kilkenny County Council- 2nd May 2013

See also an earlier discussion thread  ' Brewery Site Suggestions'

The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland, (RIAI), and Kilkenny County & Borough Councils joined in an urban design process for the Diageo/Smithwick’s Brewery site which will become vacant later this year.  Diageo plans to close the Smithwick’s brewery, which operated at the site for over 300 years, later this year to centralise its beer production at new facilities in St James's Gate, Dublin.

Supported by the Departments of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, under the Government’s Policy on Architecture 2009-2015, the urban design process involved eleven of Ireland’s leading architects, along with planning, engineering and property advisors.  This unique partnership came up with a number of design and development concepts for the site which were unveiled in Kilkenny Castle on Thursday 2nd of May.

Public Consultation

The architects looked at the development potential of the site, taking into consideration the city in its totality, including its economy, history and demographics, to ensure that the development of the site delivers the best design solutions. The experts conducted a site visit in December 2012, and came up with different design approaches and philosophies which have been compiled into a comprehensive report.

The RIAI report on the process and the architects’ presentations as given on the 2nd May are available for public consultation and comment at This report and the presentations will be considered by local elected representatives in the coming months as part of the preparation of the new Development Plan for Kilkenny City & Environs.

Architects involved in the process and who presented at Kilkenny Castle on the 2nd May included:

  • Seán Harrington, principal of Seán Harrington Architects.
  • Tony Reddy, Chairman of international design firm Reddy Architecture & Urbanism.
  • Martin Colreavy, principal advisor for built heritage and architectural policy at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, with responsibility for the new Government Policy on Architecture 2009- 2015.
  • James Pike, Director O’Mahony Pike Architects.
  • Shelley McNamara, co-founder of Grafton Architects.


Download Aileen Doyle's Presentation 114 KB
Download - Chris Boyle Presentation - 44.4 MB
Download - Denis Malone's Presentation 5 Feb - 1.06 MB
Download - John Mulholland's Presentation 5 Feb - 354 KB
Download - Karl Kent's Presentation - 20.3 MB
Download - Martin Colreavy's Presentation - 4.18 MB
Download - Niall McCullough's Presentation - 2.16 MB
Download - Paul Keogh's Presentation - 86.6 MB
Download - Presentation J Pike part 1 - 7.19 MB
Download - Diageo Presentation J. Pike part 7.50 MB
Download - Peter Cox's Presenttion - 30.5 KB

Download - Tony Reddy's Presentation - 43.3 MB

Urban Design Review Report

Kilkenny Local Authorities agreed to purchase the Diageo/Smithwick’s site in the centre of Kilkenny city, because of its pivotal importance to the economic and social well-being of the city and county. The brewery lands consist of approximately 5.5ha (13.5 acres). There is a further 0.8ha (1.9 acres) in public ownership immediately adjacent and available. The purchase of the Diageo lands presents a unique opportunity to shape the development of Kilkenny City into the future.

Following on from the successful peer review process undertaken for the Central Access Scheme and in line with the Government’s Policy on Architecture 2009 – 2015, to promote high quality urban design and architecture, it was proposed that a colloquium should be held of experienced and knowledgeable professionals in the area of urban design and architecture, planning and property, to develop a set of design principles which would inform the development of a master plan for the area.

This urban design process was organised in two parts, consisting of a half day on 5th December 2012, which involved an introduction to the project, a forum for discussion and a site visit, and a day-long gathering on 5th February 2013. The Urban Design Review Report is a summary of the presentations and discussions which took place during the second stage of the review process at County Hall, Kilkenny, on the 5th February 2013. The day involved a series of presentations by attendees outlining concerns, concepts and methodologies for the Diageo site and wider urban area, and concluded with a discussion of these ideas and future developments.

Download Urban Design Review Report for Diageo Site


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