Visits from De La Salle Kilkenny

Just before starting off into the adventure of the summer holidays, two groups of boys from the De La Salle schools visited us.

Our tour guide Lady Anne greeted them and sent them on a treasure hunt around the courtyards and gardens. They discovered strange window shapes, learned about coats of arms and the fate of the Rothe family dog Pip.

By the looks of it, the pillory left the biggest impression to both groups.

The second group had a scary encounter with a plague doctor who told them about the plague of 1348 and Tudor hygiene regimens.

Some of the braver lads facing the Plague Doctor

A lunch break in the garden completed their visit. After all this time since the Rothe family lived here, they were allowed to sit on the lawn that was once reserved for the ladies of the house. They then headed off to St. Canice’s Cathedral on another treasure hunt.

We’re hoping to welcome more groups in the new school year!

Introducing the team: Anne-Karoline Distel

Anne is from Leipzig, Germany and joined the Rothe House team in 2018.

What is your first memory of Rothe House?

Anne in the 2nd courtyard of Rothe House

Anne explaining the 1604 well

I was on holidays in Ireland with a friend in 2016 and visited Rothe House during our stay in Kilkenny. I think I was most impressed by the buildings and gardens. Three months later, I moved to Kilkenny, and the historic fabric of the city played a huge part in that decision.

What is your favourite part of Rothe House?

The fact that the buildings on their burgage plot is still intact and especially with the reconstructed garden. It really allows you to step back in time, when you can smell all the nice things John and Rose would have smelled.

What are you looking forward to most?

I enjoy telling people about the history of the Rothe family and the buildings, so I’m looking forward do giving tours in English and German.

Introducing The Team – Désirée Carey

Désirée joined the team during the summer of 2020 and has returned to new responsibilities. You will find her in the Merchant’s Shop.

What is your first memory of Rothe House?

That would be the opening day in 1966. My family lived down the road, and my mother, father and brother were invited. But I was too young and not invited. Curiousity, however, got the better of me and I snuck out under the not so watchful eye of the babysitter and joined my family. No way was I going to miss that!

What is your favourite part of Rothe House?

Definitely the new shop with its large range of beautifully handcrafted Irish products. And then, of course, the Phelan Room and Lanigan Room with their impressive opulence.

What are you looking forward to most?

It will be great to see life back in the place and having everything opening up again.

Introducing the Team: Mary Pyke

Mary Pyke preparing flower arrangements

Mary in her element

Mary Pyke is the gardener at Rothe House and is in fact referred to as “Mary Gardener” sometimes, when we need to make the distinction between her and Mary Flood, our genealogist.

What is your first memory of Rothe House?

Don’t ask me the year, but my first contact with Rothe House was when I was in primary school. I remember doing a debate about it.

What is your favourite part of Rothe House?

It would have to be the Lanigan Room with its amazing King Truss Roof. The craftsmanship is just phenomenal.

What are you looking forward to most after re-opening?

Just for things to go back to normal, to be honest. Being able to welcoming visitors from all over the world and being able to visit places myself.

Introducing The Team: Sinead Gibbons

Sinead behind the new reception desk

Although being the youngest member amongst the permanent team, Sinead is our longest running receptionist and tour guide.

What is your first memory of Rothe House?

“My first memory of Rothe House was of the late Win Long, my former work colleague and much loved friend of the house.
FAS were running a full time Level 5 course based around Local History and Archaeology. I remember walking into the reception area (now the new and marvelous Merchant’s shop) and being greeted with a friendly smile and warm hello. We talked about the course and some local history. Later I had the honour of working with Win. She trained me in at reception and the rest is history – excuse the pun.
My first memory of the house physically was the court yards. It felt like I was stepping back in time. The sheer size of the property became clear as I walked through and I remember thinking “whoever built this house was an exceptionally wealthy individual” and found myself wanting to know more about him/her/them.”

What is your favourite part of the house & gardens?

“It’s hard to pick what my favourite part of Rothe House is, there are so many fantastic elements to choose from. What springs to mind first is the people, locally, nationally and internationally. All the fantastic stories and experiences. I love greeting new and old friends of the house. And of course my incredible work family!
The Kilkenny Archaeological Society is an other part of Rothe House worth mentioning and rightly so. The work the Society does is exceptional, owed to the astounding commitment of various members, and dedication to all things of historical value.
My favourite part of the property without a doubt has to be our garden. Flourished by our tremendous head Gardener Mary Pyke, the Garden is a reminder that with hard work, great interest, knowledge and devotion, you can create something magical.”

What are you looking forward to most after the re-opening?

“I’m looking forward to once again giving an experience to visitors from near and far. The history, the people who lived/worked/created dreams inside these very walls- sharing those stories and making visitors feels part of that.”

Reopening After Lockdown

The long waiting time is over – on Friday June 4th 2021, Rothe House and Gardens is reopening to the public. The team and contractors have been working tirelessly the last few weeks to give Rothe House and Garden a revamp. Here are just some of the changes we’re welcoming you to explore:

The former reception area is now “The Merchant’s Shop” with handcrafted Irish products to enable our visitors abroad to take a piece of Ireland home. Or if you’re local and looking for a beautiful present, you can find it here.

The reception has moved into the MacDonagh room in the second house. Coming through the open gates into the first courtyards, visitors can now get a better impression of the buildings and already step back in time, before they purchase a ticket.


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The former empty shop across the archway from the Merchant’s Shop has been rebranded as “The Arches Shop”. For the summer of 2021, it will house temporary art exhibitions of local artists. Local artist and architect Roger Beeken is making a brave start.

Our new opening hours are
Tuesday – Saturday 10:00-17:30 (last admission at 17:00)
Sunday and Bank Holiday 11:00-17:30 (last admission at 17:00)


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Heritage Week 2019

Preparations are on their way for a packed program for Heritage Week this year (2019).

17th – 25th August 2019

We will have guided tours of houses and gardens daily at 2:30pm. They will be €5.50 per person, children under 12 go free. No booking required.

For people with a keen interest in gardening, our head gardener Mary Pyke will give tours on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 12pm to 12:45pm. These tours are €3 per person, children under 12 go free.


If you’re interested in your family history, our genealogist Mary Flood might be able to help you on Tuesday, 20th August from 2pm on. For her to prepare your case, these consultations are by appointment only via The fees for each consultation are €25.


Since the theme of Heritage Week this year is Pastimes, we offer some workshops to learn historical pastimes:

First of, our staff member Anne-Karoline Distel will offer a juggling workshop for children and children at heart on the 21st of August from 2pm – 3pm. Booking is required, please contact The fee for this workshop is €6 for children, adults go free. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Juggling equipment will be provided, but you can bring your own as well. (We recommend the Arts&Hobby shop in the Market Cross Shopping Center or

Anne will also offer a trad music workshop for fiddlers and other trad musicians. She’ll be teaching a tune she wrote inspired by Rothe House garden from her recent publication Drawn to Tunes. The workshop takes place on Friday, 23rd August 3pm – 4pm. Again, children need to be accompanied by an adult. Booking is essential for €5 per person, regardless of age. Please bring your own instrument.

Thursday and Friday 12pm – 1pm, children are invited to Come out and Play in the garden. They will (re)discover nursery rhymes and oldtime outdoor games. This event is free, but booking is required via

Kilkenny Archaeological Society are offering an Introduction to RePhotography on Thursday, 22nd August from 1pm to 2:30pm. This is a free workshop, yet booking is required, since there is a limited amount of places.

Book Reading

Rothe House is happy to host a book reading by local artist and author Judy Rhatigan. Judy will be reading from her recent publication Beyond the Briary Wood: A Life Journey. The reading will take place on August 23rd from 4 to 5 pm in Rothe House. In this publication, she remembers her life growing up in a Gate Lodge in Co. Kilkenny in the 1940s and 50s. It is a very interesting insight into the social history of Kilkenny. This is a free event.


Wedding Fair on Sun March 3rd 2019


Tudor kitchen white chairs

Tudor kitchen set up for a wedding

Rothe House Museum & Gardens is hosting a wedding fair on Sunday, March 3rd from 12:30 to 4:30pm.

Local musicians, florists, artists, caterers and others are showing their skills and services for future wedding couples.

Come and have a look to see how your special day can gain historical significance. 😉

Opening Hours for Christmas and New Year 2018/19

Rothe House will be closed Dec 24th, 25th, 26th, 31st and January 1st.

The museum is open Dec 22nd, 27th, 28th, 29th and reopens as normal on January 2nd.

We wish everyone happy holidays and a very good New Year!

Family History Course 2017

This nine week course on family history, directed by Mr Pat Nolan director of “Researching your own family’s history – a nine-week introductory course to methods and sources” has been running for more than twenty-five years. It is especially suitable for those who have often felt they would like to undertake their own family history but are not too sure where to start or how best to go about it. It will also be of great value to those who have ‘been at it for years’ but would welcome some guidance about sources and where they are to be found.

During the weeks of the course in the Kilkenny Archaeological Society’s headquarters, Rothe House, you become familiar with and comfortable in venues which some of our members can find intimidating. Each location tend to have their individual requirements and ‘rules of engagement. Once you have had an opportunity to become familiar with their methods of operation any such reluctance to visit them is soon dissipated – one of the many advantages offered by this long established programme.

This year’s course begins on Tuesday evening, October 3rd in Rothe House at 7.15 and continues until 9.30 – with a welcome break for tea/coffee and an informal, social chat at mid -point. Comprehensive notes and necessary materials are provided each evening. Details of the course are available in a brochure available to personal callers to Rothe House. It sets out the topics covered during each of the weekly sessions and also provides information on the optional all-day, fully conducted, field trip to Dublin at the conclusion of the programme.

Course fees are €125 and early booking is advised with enrolement to Rothe House on or before 2nd October 5.30pm. Spaces are of necessity limited and are provided on a first come first served basis. For booking and additional information please drop into Rothe House (phone 056 77 22 893) or contact Pat Nolan on 087 24 11 9 55.