Shopfronts and signage

Shopfronts are one of the most important elements in determining the character, quality and image of retail streets in the city centre. In general, the Council seeks to:

- Encourage the maintenance of original shopfronts
- Encourage the reinstatement of traditional shopfronts where poor replacements have been installed
- Promote modern design and high quality materials where new shopfronts on new or modern buildings are being proposed. Where existing shopfronts are of no special merit, total replacement with a contemporary design is acceptable and if sensitively handled can greatly enhance the appearance of the street

The Council has a three strand strategy, which work together in synchronisation, in achieving this policy:

1. Awareness raising and Promotion
2. Policy and Guidance
3. Enforcement

1. Awareness raising and Promotion

Kilkenny County Council launched an exciting online resource in December 2019, entitled "Kilkenny Shopfronts Through the Ages", available on the Library's Kilkenny Digital Archive This initiative is the result of collaboration between the Council's Planning section, the Library Service, Information Systems and Heritage. These photographs show the shopfronts in each street in central Kilkenny city between the late 20th Century and the present.

The main source of the photos was Planning Department photographic surveys which were conducted in 1987, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2018 (approx. 4,200 photos in total). Photos from the 1970's are also included in the "Streetscapes of Kilkenny City" Collection (178 photos).

Denis Malone, Senior Planner, commented "these photos enable us to look at each business in central Kilkenny over a range of years. The entire collection is a fantastic resource for the general public and for the Council for viewing Kilkenny's ever-changing streetscapes and shopfronts."

For more information or any queries please email

2. Policy and Guidance

View and download our Planning Information Leaflet on Shopfronts and Advertising Signs.pdf (1.2MB) (2016). This leaflet refers specifically to the policies of the Kilkenny City and Environs Development Plan 2014 - 2020; the Kilkenny City and County Development Plan 2021 is now the relevant policy document.  

Free hard copies of this Information Leaflet are available at the Planning Office, County Hall, John Street, Kilkenny.

Archived material:

An Information Evening for City Centre business owners was held on the 23rd March 2016 in the Town Hall. The aim of this Information Evening was to highlight the planning requirements and conservation issues associated with shopfronts and associated signage in the City. There were 2no. presentations on the night:

Shopfronts and Signage (Planning Policy and Requirements)

Shopfront Design Guidance (Conservation issues and examples)

This information is intended as a practical guide - it is not a definite legal interpretation of Planning Law. For more information, please contact the Planning Department.

Related reference material:

Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities, October 2011

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