The Christmas Miscellany at Rothe House took place on Wednesday 3rd DecemberÂ 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, RÃ³isÃn McQuillan and Gerry Moran were both amusing and thought provoking.Â 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.
On 8thÂ September,Â it was announced at the Tidy Towns Competition Awards Ceremony that the Rothe Family Garden in KilkennyÂ has won both the Regional and National Landscape Awards for 2008.Â
â€œThe TidyTowns Landscape Award is a special competition sponsored by The Tree Council of IrelandÂ 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.â€
The Garden wasÂ nominated by the Keep Kilkenny Beautiful Committee and both awards carry a financial prize of â‚¬1,000. A presentation ceremony will be held at a later date.
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,Â on FridayÂ 5th SeptemberÂ 2008. Entry to the exhibitionÂ is included in the admission fee to the House & Garden.
Encouraged by local historian Michael Oâ€™Dwyer, the Kilkenny Archaeological Society at Rothe House invited Helena Brennan to set up an exhibition to record Peter Brennanâ€™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 â€˜disappearedâ€™ 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.
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 ofÂ building the database and maintaining the service means that charges will apply to users.Â The site is at http://kilkenny.brsgenealogy.com
Now that the Garden Re-creation isÂ complete, andÂ has been formally opened by the President of Ireland, the next step is the re-presentation of the House in accordance with the Conservation Plan. The firstÂ stageÂ of thisÂ entails conservation work on the fabric of the HouseÂ to enable the interpretive plan for the property to be implemented. This will include replacement of staircase, dampness protection in basement, work on windows and doors, plasterwork and ceiling repairs,Â chimney and roof work, improvement of guttering and drainage, and lift installation. A lot of this work is necessitated by obligations in relation toÂ (a) access for all, and (b) Health & Safety requirements.
Announcement of Grant:Â We were very pleased recently toÂ be notifiedÂ by the Dept. of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government that our project here hasÂ been included by the Minister in the list of Heritage Properties to benefit from Government grants this year, in our case â‚¬200,000, which will allow us to put these works in hand. The full cost estimate is â‚¬406,500, so we have a big gap to bridge!Â
Re-location within the House: The PlanÂ entails much re-arrangement of activities, to enable us to show off the House to its best for visitors. The Library and the FÃ¡s project will move to the Third House, which is now available as the Heritage Council has moved to its new locationÂ in Church Lane. We will try to have all the major changes carried out during the slack period for visitors, as much of the House will have to be closed for a time. So, the aim is to have the transfers to the Third House carried out this coming winter, and the re-presentation completed in the winter of 2009-10.
Funding:Â We continue to rely heavily on public funding for the cost of the Plan – approx. â‚¬3m – but all grant systems operate on a percentage basis, which means we need to be able to source considerable sponsorship from private sources. For this we rely on our own KAS members, our stakeholders in the Trust, and private and corporate donations. So far this has gone well. but now needs to be stepped up as we enter the period of our heaviest investment. Watch this space!Â
Rothe House Trust launched a new Fundraising Campaign just before Christmas, to help with the cost of the Garden Restoration project. You can choose one of the following items to sponsor and in return we will assign a plaque to the item to commemorate you, or someone else of your choosing.
Benches:Handmade wooden benches specially designed for comfort and ease of use. â‚¬1,000 each
Oak Trees: Semi mature clipped oak trees 2 metres tall. â‚¬600 each
Apple Trees: All old Irish apple varieties, planted in the upper garden. â‚¬40 each.
Roses and Shrubs: A wide variety of roses and shubs throughout the garden. â‚¬25 each.
Bay Trees: 6 bay trees planted in pots in the lower garden. â‚¬200 each.
Cobbles: limestone cobbles to be set in the entranceway at New Building Lane. â‚¬100 each.
Simply contact 056 7722893 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to take part.
This is your opportunity to support the Kilkenny Archaeological Society and Rothe House Trust in our ambitious project to restore the Garden.
We had a great dayÂ lastÂ Saturday, 6th October, when we buried our time capsule in the garden at Rothe House.Â MayorÂ Marie Fitzpatrick attended, and the occasion was presided over by Dr.Â MaireÂ Downey, President of theÂ Kilkenny ArchaeologicalÂ Society.Â The time capsule was actually a beer keg given by DiageoÂ Brewery ofÂ Parliament Street. It was made airtight, and pressure tested, before the articles were put in. These included: newspapers, items of clothing, food tins and most importantly of all, aÂ Kilkenny hurlingÂ jersey! The capsule was buried deep in theÂ Orchard, and was covered in cement, so that it won’t rise to the surface any time soon. Hopefully it will be uncovered in 200 years time by future archaeologists, and it will give them a snapshot of life in Kilkenny in 2007.
The capsule has been registered with the TimeÂ Capsule SocietyÂ which records all such events in Ireland and Britain.Â
Mid- March, and we’re on target and on budget with the Rothe House Garden Restoration Project. The Main Contractors, Tallis & Company,Â have finishedÂ building new walls to plug the gaps between the existing walls.Â Mech & Elec service ductsÂ have been laid, and the contractorsÂ have laid the topsoil. The layout of the garden paths and bedsÂ is completed and theÂ oak and bay trees are planted. The vine arbour is in place, made of oak from Inistiogue, and wooden seats, kindly sponsored by donors, are in place. Sponsorship is still open for seats, trees, plants and cobbles. Wet weather has delayed the planting of the orchard in the upper garden, but the top part is finished and the rest is just awaiting a bit more drying-out. A design for presenting the Cistercian well, in the centre of the garden is being considered by the Trust at present. This will be expensive. However, the well dates from the occupation of the property by the monks from Graignamanagh in the 14th century, so it is worthÂ doing “well.” The Opening Ceremony will beÂ on April 11th, and will be performed by the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese. After that the garden will be open to the public and will form part of the tour for visitors to the House.
This project has been funded by Failte Ireland, under the 2000-2006 NDP, Kilkenny Borough Council and Kilkenny Civic Trust.
For those of you who aren’t aware, Rothe House is in the process of reconstructing the 17th century garden laid out by John Rothe, builder of the house itself. The garden stretched from the back of the third house all the way to the City Walls, and was in three parts: a vegetable garden, a formal garden and a large orchard. John and his wife Rose would have used the garden as a source of food, but also as a pleasure garden – somewhere to walk and take exercise, or to relax and entertain guests.
The garden will be open to the public from the end of October.
A very successful archaeological dig was carried out prior to Easter, by local company Kilkenny Archaeology. Many very interesting finds were discovered, but very importantly evidence of the original planting beds of the early 17th century was found. This means that our Design Team can use this information when they design the garden.
At the moment, the existing walls on the plot are being restored and rebuilt, and in a few weeks time contractors will be on site building new walls to plug the gaps.
Later in the summer, the landscapers will move in so that the garden will be ready for opening in late autumn.
This very ambitious project is being supported by Failte Ireland, Kilkenny Borough Council and Kilkenny Civic Trust. The garden committee comprises representatives from Kilkenny County Council, the OPW and the Department of the Environment, Local Government and Heritage.
Keep watching this space as I’ll be reporting on progress over the summer.
Visit Rothe House
A visit to Rothe House is high on the list of things to do in the Marble City. Built between 1594 and 1610 this was the home of the renowned merchant, landowner and Mayor of Kilkenny City, John Rothe Fitz Piers, his wife Rose Archer, and their twelve children.
Rothe House News
Rothe House & Garden
Phone: +353 (0)56 7722893