Kilkenny - Ireland

Kilkenny County is located in Ireland’s South-East, approximately 2,000 km2 in size. About half of population lives in urban settlements. Kilkenny City, with a population of about 27,000, is located centrally within the County. It is the geographic, business, administrative and cultural centre of the County. The County has eight small towns with population in the range 1,500 to 2,500, and about 20 villages with population of less than 1,000 people.

Agriculture, Food Processing, Craft &Design and Light Engineering are the dominant industries in the area, along with a number of financial services and health insurance centres. Kilkenny is a significant tourist and visitor destination, with extensive cultural and historical heritage throughout both City and County.


27,000 in Kilkenny City
103,000 in Kilkenny County


Led by Kilkenny LEADER Partnership (LAG) in association with local stakeholders including Kilkenny County Council (Municipality)

Key characteristics

Kilkenny is an inland county, consisting of agricultural plain with rolling hills and some minor mountains. It is within 1.5 hour drive/train of the Irish capital and hence is neither peripheral nor remote.

Mobility & tourism challenges

The County is well served by the national and regional public transport networks. It is well connected to both the Irish capital and to other regional centres. Regional and local routes provide good coverage but typically have low service levels, as they mainly cater to commuting times. Towns and villages on the main roads are served by passing routes, but those off the main roads are invariably without any bus service. Thus, while the county is well served by the national and regional network, the challenge for residents of the smaller towns, villages and rural areas is the connection to/from the scheduled bus stop locations where they exist.

The consequence is very high usage of private cars for local and regional travel, and high dependency on lifts for those without use of a car. Households in rural areas need to own multiple cars, with a high level of car trips made for lift-giving to other family members and neighbours. This leads to significant cost that could be avoided if there were public and collective transport options available.

Due to limited/lacking public transport connections, a high level of rural car traffic converges on Kilkenny City – where the majority of employment, higher education, amenities and essential services are located – leading to congestion, pressure on parking and on urban amenity.

The lack of connectivity also means that people in Kilkenny City, especially the significant number of tourists and visitors, cannot visit locations and attractions around the County without a car. This makes it more difficult to develop niche tourism offers, and to spread the tourism business around the county without the resultant car traffic detracting from the attractiveness.

Mobility and tourism solutions

KITE – Kilkenny Integrated Transport Evolution (KITE)

The KITE project consists of a set of linked initiatives that aimed to provide a platform for integration of scheduled public transport and other forms of rural shared mobility. A set of SuperStops is being developed to facilitate connections between national/regional bus services and local mobility services, of which the first 6 have been installed at mobility connection points. The technology platform provides real-time passenger information on displays at the stops, on the web and by mobile app, plus connection management. The platform includes physical devices, back-office software and in-vehicle location equipment. A particular feature of the KITE project is the coordination of the various stakeholders, including the public agencies and private bus operators.

Ring a Link (Local Link Carlow Kilkenny Wicklow)

Ring a Link (now branded Local Link Carlow Kilkenny Wicklow) provides rural mobility through a mix of demand responsive transport services and some fixed-route services. Their services are implemented in three adjoining counties in the southeast of Ireland: Kilkenny, Carlow and Wicklow. The area consists of medium-sized and smaller towns, many villages and a dispersed rural population. More recently, Ring a Link has absorbed services in North Fingal, a peri-urban area of Dublin.


Ring a Link was established in 2001 as a community-based provider of local transport services with focus on combatting social exclusion. The Board of Ring a Link is drawn from local communities, ensuring direct local representation across the area of coverage. Local rural mobility in the area, including Ring a Link, has been supported over the past two decades by Kilkenny LEADER Partnership. More recently, there is active support from Kilkenny County Council.


Over time, the coverage and intensity of services has increased so that Ring a Link now functions as a Transport Coordination Unit linked to the National Transport Authority. It direct operates 23 minibuses and contracts in a further 10 minibuses daily. Ring a Link provides primarily minibus-based DRT services and some fixed route services. All services are for general use, but the DRT services require to be pre-booked.


A dispatch centre in Kilkenny has used the Mobirouter software since about 2006, while units on the buses provide drivers with booking details. During 2022, KLP sponsored an RTPI system to support integration between commercial intercity bus routes and the DRT of Ring a Link. 

The organisations involved at the Lighthouse Site

Kilkenny LEADER Partnership, Website: 

Kilkenny County Council, Website:


Mobility solutions at the Lighthouse Site

Ring a Link (Local Link Carlow Kilkenny Wicklow), Website:

JJ Kavanagh & Sons (private bus operator), Website:

Declan Rice, Kilkenny LEADER Partnership