In the town of Clonmel Co. Tipperary nestled among the Comeragh mountains lies a historical gem, a late 18th century former military site – Kickham barracks. The disbanded barracks that had been left vacant for over a decade now witnesses the emergence of an impressive educational, cultural, and civic quarter, marked by the new Kickham Plaza.

The new Kickham Plaza signifies an exciting stage in the prominent wider 2030 Clonmel Town regeneration plan. The plan is pivotal in aligning the town centre with the 21st-century needs of both residents and visitors.

Lighting plays a transformative role in the plaza design. The after dark experience has a warm ambience supporting both large scale events and everyday more intimate experiences. The rich character of the site is found in the heritage elements – stone walls, the county’s only surviving garrison chapel and former artillery stores building. Lighting is used as means of revealing this rich tapestry of history in hours of darkness.

The most prominent lighting elements are the large-scale multi-head lighting masts are finished in an Army green – a nod in acknowledgement of the genius loci – the spirit of place. The exaggerated scale of the masts maximises the plaza’s generous open space facilitating high volumes of people and different modes of use for events. In contrast lighting integrated and embedded into the landscape elements discreetly illuminate pathways and reveal textures in the historic brickwork. The lower-level elements create a relaxed ambience, encouraging people to pause, slow-down and interact.

The distinct linear canopy structure along the northern edge of the site blurs the boundaries of interior and exterior by creating a sheltered dwell space. As part of a strategy to activate the plaza at night accent lighting on the underside of tensile fabric canopy creates a warm wash of light enhances the feeling of comfort and enriches the way people interact with the outdoor environment after-dark.

Kickham Plaza swiftly became the primary communal gathering spot for the town, evolving into a lively hub that captures and celebrates the rhythm and unity of local life. This significance was particularly evident in recent times when the plaza played a pivotal role as a platform for the town’s residents to collectively express their grief during evening vigils following a tragedy that profoundly impacted the community.

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