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The Kilkenny Age Friendly County Initiative was launched at a public meeting in Kilkenny on 26th March 2010 by Hollywood Actress Maureen O’ Hara. Since its inception consultations and participation of older adults in the county has underpinned the ongoing development of Kilkenny as an Age-Friendly County. As a result, the Local Area Development Plans and other Local Government Services have been informed by the views and priorities of older people and their organisations. The inclusion and cooperation in the design and development of services by older adults in the county have led to several successful initiatives and projects over the last ten years.

In 2014, Kilkenny City became the first city in Ireland to receive Age Friendly status from the World Health Organisation. The same year, The Ormonde Hotel in consultation with older customers was awarded the first Age Friendly Hotel in Ireland, also St Luke’s General Hospital launched their Age Friendly Initiative and Geriatric Emergency Service. In 2022 MacDonagh Train Station became Ireland’s first Age Friendly Train Station. In 2023 all Libraries throughout Kilkenny gained Age Friendly status.

The programme is overseen by a Strategic Alliance; a multiagency voluntary partnership that works closely with older people in Kilkenny to ensure that policies and plans reflect their needs. With the commitment of senior decision makers and supported by the Older People Council, the Kilkenny Age Friendly Alliance has delivered considerable changes in services and opportunities including Age Friendly seating and open spaces, memory clinics, more integrated community supports, greater access to information and physical activities.


Ireland’s first Age Friendly Train Station

The MacDonagh Train Station project was carried out in the context of the National Sustainability Mobility Policy which sets out to progressively make public transport systems more accessible for people using an integrated universal design approach. Making a Train Station ‘Age Friendly’ means that it is more accessible and welcoming for everyone who uses it, particularly older people. Implementing these changes to the physical environment such as the Age Friendly parking spaces outside the station and pedestrian crossing, not only improved access for everyone, but also promotes the city as a welcoming destination. 

Key quantifiable benefits included accessible route into and out of the building, internal accessible facilities such as widening of doors to toilets, information provision in a variety of accessible formats, Age Friendly training for staff, lighting and security.  Clear signage and information, specific information is available on how to get assistance for people with disabilities and car parking facilities including a drop off zone. The specific improvements made to the train station include:

  • New pedestrian crossing
  • Age Friendly car parking spaces
  • Upgrade of disability parking spaces
  • Alterations to kerb to improve access
  • Landscaping
  • Safety decals on glass doors.
  • JAM (Just a Minute) cards used in the station and training for staff.

A key feature of this development was the opening of a new walkway which links the station with the adjacent MacDonagh Junction Shopping Centre, significantly reducing the walking distance from the train to the shops and improving access for all.

Age Friendly Towns


Local Programme Manager
Anne Marie Shortall
Local Technical Advisor
Jan McIntyre
Local HAFH Coordinator
Linda Kirwan
Local Older People’s Council
Chair: Betty Dewberry
Local Age Friendly Ambassador
Nickey Brennan