The construction project for a mosque and a cultural center in Kilkenny (Ireland) came to a halt after several appeals to the planning commission: An Bord Pleanala.
In 2018, the Kilkenny County Council granted a building permit at the request of the Kilkenny Islamic Trust for a development project in the Hebron Industrial Park on the outskirts of the city.
The proposed plan included, in addition to a mosque—with a dome and a minaret—adjoining living quarters, guest houses, classrooms, a café, and a halal shop, like similar complexes being built on European soil, notably in France.
But in Kilkenny, the Catholics resisted. Several appeals were immediately lodged by worried residents with the An Bord Pleanala, finally leading, in May 2019, to the outright cancellation of the project.
The Irish commission has argued that the plans “would not contribute positively to the architectural and cultural heritage of the city of Kilkenny.” It is true that a minaret may seem out of place near a Gothic belfry.
The news was well received, with joy and relief by activists, many of whom had spent months opposing the project.
Kilkenny was founded in the 6th century around a monastery founded by St. Canice of Aghaboe, one of the 12 apostles of Ireland.
The city is home to several medieval Christian sites, some of the most beautiful in Ireland.
Buildings such as the 13th century Cathedral of St. Canice and the Dominican Abbey—nicknamed the Black Abbey—testify to the long Catholic past of the city, unsymphathetic to the call of the muezzin.