Shakespeare in the House – 27th & 28th June

Shakespeare in the House

Two days of Shakespeare took place in the authentic surroundings of an early 17th century mansion and garden earlier this year in June. Rothe House was built as Shakespeare was writing his plays in London! Abridged versions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet, and A Comedy of Errors were performed in the Second Courtyard by children of all ages.  Also monologue, art and film competitions – all with a Shakespeare Theme. Held in collaboration with Dreamstuff Theatre Company and the Devious Theatre Company. Suitable for all the family. This Festival was part of the Kilkenny400 Celebrations. 

Meet the Rothes!

John Rothe and Rose Archer

Every Thursday evening, from 25th June to 27th August, visitors to Kilkenny had an opportunity to take a guided tour of Rothe House & Garden in the company of John Rothe Fitzpiers, and his wife Rose Archer, who built Rothe House between 1594 and 1610. They were taken on a journey through the 400 year old story of Rothe House & Garden.  Visitors were very complimentary about the tour, and spoke of a greater understanding of the family who lived in Rothe House in the early 17th century.

The Great Exhibition of 1907 in Dublin – Rothe House until end September

1907 Great Exhibition in Herbert Park, Dublin 

In 1907, a Great Exhibition was held in Dublin.  It was centered on Herbert Park in Donnybrook, which was in fact created particularly for this event.  It was a huge exhibition, and over 2.5 million people saw it during the four months it was in place.  The Chairman of the Organising Committee was the  Marquess of Ormonde, so there is an interesting Kilkenny connection.  100 years later, the RDS commissioned a Commemorative Exhibition.  This was co-curated by Brian Siggins of the Old Dublin Society and John Holohan.  The RDS have kindly lent the exhibition to Rothe House, and it will be on show during the month of September, in the ground floor of the Third House.

The Exhibition is part of the overall tour of the House & Garden.   

Global Lunchbox at Rothe House

Global Lunch Box returns

The Global Lunch box is a series of lunch time talks and workshops exploring the global issues of peak oil,
climate change and economic uncertainty with a focus on how these challanges can be met through local positive solutions.
Fridays, Rothe House, High St., 1pm, Є5 (price includes entry to gardens), Tea & coffee extra. 

Friday 8th May

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?    ——————————————————————————————————– The future is not what we thought it would be. In tackling climate change, and especially peak oil, we need to produce and consume closer to home. This will be a big change for society but could lead to a revival in the local economy and stronger communities.
This final lunchbox will explore where we go from here.



Booking not essential.

Changes to Entry to the Rothe Family Garden

From Monday 12th January, entry to the Rothe Family Garden has been altered, and is now through the House on Parliament Street. The gates at New Building Lane have been closed.

‘It was always intended that access to the House and Garden would be integrated and that the Garden would be entered in the same way that the Rothe Family would have done’, says Róisín McQuillan, Manager of Rothe House.  ‘Now that the conservation work on the Courtyards and House has been completed, it is appropriate to allow visitors to the House and Garden to enter through the House.’In line with the conditions of the Fáilte Ireland grant which funded a large part of the reconstruction works, there will be a nominal charge to visit the Garden.  It is now possible to visit the House and Garden together, or just the Garden on its own. 

Admission charges are as follows:

House & Garden:         Adults: €5.00                      Concessions:  €4.00

Garden Only:               Adults: €2.00                      Concessions: €1.00

Members of Kilkenny Archaeological Society can avail of the usual free admission. There will also be an annual ticket available for €10 which will allow unrestricted access to the Garden only (conditions will apply).  The annual ticket is being introduced to encourage local people to use the Garden on a regular basis.

For more details on this new system, contact Rothe House at 056 77228893, or email

Rothe House Trust receives €1.9 million for House Re-presentation Project

On the 8th December, Martin Cullen TD, Minister of Arts, Sports and Tourism formally announced the allocation of almost 11.2 million in Development Grants for six of the country’s main visitor attractions in counties Cork, Wicklow, Kilkenny, Wexford and Roscommon, as part of Fáilte Ireland’s Capital Investment Programme.  According to the Minister, “the projects for which funding has been allocated are excellent examples of existing attractions which will benefit from funding for upgrading and development of historic houses and other projects.”

The nominated projects were: Fota House and Gardens, Co Cork, Russborough, Blessington, Co Wicklow, Rothe House, Kilkenny, Dunbrody, New Ross, Co Wexford, Strokestown Museum, Co Roscommon, and Blarney Castle, Blarney, Co Cork. Rothe House is now recognised to be a major national attraction and an essential element in Ireland’s heritage and cultural history, and this funding will assist us to implement the recommendations of our Conservation Plan, and the House Re-presentation project.

The grant from Failte Ireland amounts to €1.9 million for Rothe House, and only provides part funding of the capital required for our House Re-presentation project. It is conditional on the Society and the Trust providing matching funding for the project. Whilst the Kilkenny Local Authorities have been very supportive, we will still need to carry-out another major fundraising campaign throughout 2009.


Christmas Miscellany at Rothe House

The Christmas Miscellany at Rothe House took place on Wednesday 3rd December last and was a thoroughly enjoyable evening. The house was packed, standing room only, and the music and contributions were very well received. The Sonas Chamber Choir and friends sang a lovely collection of old winter and Christmas songs and led the entire audience in a rousing chorus of ‘Hark the Herald Angels sing’ to finish off the evening. The contributions from Frank Marshall, Melosina Lenox-Conyngham, Paul Coady, Róisín McQuillan and Gerry Moran were both amusing and thought provoking. In all the evening raised a considerable sum of money towards the House Re-presentation Project, and we are very grateful to all those contributors who gave their time free of charge.

Rothe Family Garden wins major Tidy Towns Award!

On 8th September, it was announced at the Tidy Towns Competition Awards Ceremony that the Rothe Family Garden in Kilkenny has won both the Regional and National Landscape Awards for 2008. 


“The TidyTowns Landscape Award is a special competition sponsored by The Tree Council of Ireland to recognise the role of appropriate landscaping in Irish towns, villages and urban areas and its potential aesthetic and practical benefits to the local community.”

The Garden was nominated by the Keep Kilkenny Beautiful Committee and both awards carry a financial prize of €1,000. A presentation ceremony will be held at a later date.

Peter Brennan, ANCA, Pioneer Potter in Kilkenny

An exciting new exhibition showcasing the life and work of renowned potter Peter Brennan during his time in Kilkenny from 1941 to 1962 opened in Rothe House,  on Friday 5th September 2008. Entry to the exhibition is included in the admission fee to the House & Garden.

Encouraged by local historian Michael O’Dwyer, the Kilkenny Archaeological Society at Rothe House invited Helena Brennan to set up an exhibition to record Peter Brennan’s more than twenty years (1941-1962) in Kilkenny.

During that period, Peter established art and pottery classes, art exhibitions and societies, and set up the Ring Ceramics Studios Limited in 1945 with the financial and gallery help of art dealer Victor Waddington. Peter converted an old grain store at The Ring which had once been used for bull baiting. The Ring is on Parliament Street, opposite Rothe House (built in 1594) where this archival exhibition will run for six months or more.

The exhibition features a mock-up of the old studio showing many of the methods used, with tools and moulds, illustrating the wide range of production methods undertaken by Peter in Kilkenny in the 1940s and 1950s. In 1964, Peter produced over 3,500 specially commissioned mugs for the inaugural Beer Festival, and almost all of them ‘disappeared’ during the reception on the first night in the Beer Tent.

This is the first opportunity there has been to showcase the life and works of Peter J Brennan while he lived and worked in Kilkenny.

Genealogy – New National On-line Service:

RHT provides the genealogy service for Kilkenny City and County. We have recently joined with other counties in an on-line service for users, using a central web-site which will be a one-stop shop for all the available Irish genealogical records on the island of Ireland. This is an initiative of the Irish Family History Foundation, and the site contains 8.6 million birth, baptismal, marriage and death records from the 1600s to the 1900s. The cost of building the database and maintaining the service means that charges will apply to users.  The site is at