Rothe House & Garden will be the flagship of Kilkenny’s heritage and tourist industry when the Renaissance project is completed by Easter of 2011, and all conservation works finished. This will complete the restoration and the presentation of one of Ireland’ treasures for present and future generations.
The Rothe House Conservation Plan was the first conservation plan to be commissioned in Ireland by the Heritage Council of Ireland on behalf of the Kilkenny Archaeological Society in 2002, and its aim was to secure, conserve, and restore the historic property and gardens for future generations to enjoy and use. The Conservation Plan had four major recommendations and to date three of these recommendations have been completed: they are as follows
1.The formation of a professional Management Company (Rothe House Trust Ltd. was formed in 2004 and has full Charitable status.)
2. The reconstruction of the Burgage Garden to the rear of the property. (opened in April 2008, and the gardens have won the Local and National Landscape awards in the 2008 Tidy Towns Awards)
.3The Structural Conservation and Maintenance of the buildings. (Works were completed in November 2008)
4.The re-presentation of the site as an exemplar of life in 17th century Kilkenny and Ireland. This is the Renaissance Project, and work commenced on 15th March. Duggan Lynch & Co were the local contractors appointed to re-fit the Third House to provide for new library facilities, a new training centre for the FAS Training Project, and a Coffee Shop on the ground floor. Phase One has been completed and the Library and the Trainee centre have been relocated.
Phase two begins in March 2012, and will involve the closure of Rothe House to the public for some months. This is the refurbishment of the First and Second Houses to install a new exhibition space, with a circular route through the two houses. This new exhibition space will tell the story of Rothe House itself, its construction between 1594 and 1610, the family who built it and lived in it, and their impact on the social and political life of Kilkenny in the 17th century.
The project is being supported by Failte Ireland under the NDP 2007-2013, the Councils of the City and County of Kilkenny and private donations. It is a major conservation and presentation project coming to Kilkenny in these difficult times, which will see substantial investment in the Heritage of the County. The project is estimated to cost €3.1 million.
The project design will provide full accessibility for all to Rothe House and Garden, and when complete will prove to be a major tourist attraction and historical and genealogical research facility for Kilkenny and the South East of Ireland.