Fundraising Performance – ‘The Importance of Being Oscar’

Oscar Wilde and Micheál MacLiammóir help to fundraise for the Rothe House Renaissance Project.




A unique link is being revived between Rothe House and Micheál MacLiammóir this month, with a performance of his play ‘The Importance of Being Oscar’ at Kyteler’s Inn on 31st of January at 8 pm ( with pre-show reception at Rothe House at 7 pm).

The eloquent actor, stage designer, wit and playwright, wrote his tribute to Oscar Wilde in 1960 and performed it in New York and London as well as Dublin.  This piece is now being presented by Banba’s Crown Theatre Company, in an informal setting at Kyteler’s Inn, as part of the fundraising campaign for the Renaissance Project at Rothe House.

Michael Judd, of Banba’s Crown, has had a long relationship with ‘The Importance of Being Oscar’:


“From the first reading, I felt an affinity for Micheál MacLiammóir’s beautifully written tribute to Oscar Wilde. I first performed excerpts from it in March 1997 in Soho, New York, as part of a festival of Irish Culture.  I went on to work on other projects over the years, but always felt a desire to revisit this play and explore it more fully.

In 2012, my wife Sinéad and I re-established “Banba’s Crown”, a Production Company which we started in New York City to adapt and revive older Irish works.  We began work on adapting “The Importance of Being Oscar” with a view to presenting it to modern audiences. We both had a sense that it would be more interesting to present the work in diverse settings other than conventional theatres. Since then, our journey has taken us to some unexpected and remarkable spaces! ”

– Michael Judd


Micheál MacLiammóir is well remembered for his outstanding performance at Rothe House in 1968, when he was invited to visit during the filming of ‘Lock Up Your Daughters’.  In an extract from Maureen Hegarty’s memoir of that visit, she suggested that ‘he come back later and give us a night?’ And he did.  In November 1968, he performed ‘I Must Be Talking to My Friends’ in the stunning Phelan Room, which was packed to the rafters. Maureen’s amusing account of that night is captured forever in the 2010 Old Kilkenny Review – the Journal of Kilkenny Archaeological Society.

This charming account will be recited on the 31st January, at a pre-show reception to be held at Rothe House.

Tickets for this event are €15 (€20 to include the pre-show reception and recitation), and are available at Rothe House, by telephoning 056 7722893, emailing, or calling in.

All proceeds from the night go to the Renaissance Project at Rothe House (


Mindfulness Classes in Rothe House & Garden.

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Rothe House & Garden are delighted to invite you to participate in our mindfulness sessions which will take place in conjunction with Mindfulness Kilkenny.  The lunchtime sessions, lasting thirty minutes will be conducted by Erica Balfour amid the historic late Tudor merchants townhouse & garden in the heart of the city.

Beginning on Wednesday, January 7th at 1.10pm to 1.40pm it is the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and train your mind to be calm this new year.  These mindfulness sessions will help you return to work or your daily life and deal with stressful situations more skilfully.

Admission is just €5 per session (€3 for KAS members) and all are most welcome.  

Christmas Miscellany – 10th December 2014.

Looking forward to our Christmas Market on December 13th?

Why not treat yourself beforehand and drop in on the 10th of December at 8pm for our annual Christmas Miscellany!

Seasonal readings and essays, traditional music with a festive touch and mulled wine will make this a perfect evening! 

Admission is €10.


Christmas Market at Rothe House & Garden.

We are delighted to announce that we will be hosting a truly festive Christmas Market on Saturday, 13th of December.  The market lasting between 10am and 5pm will take place through the charming courtyard and beautiful rooms of the late 16th century merchants townhouse on Parliament street.

We’re throwing our doors open for the day and over 20 craftspeople and vendors will join us selling handmade treats and gifts. There will be music and hot drinks available throughout the day and hot food will be supplied by the one and only Bula Bus.

So, if you’re looking for the perfect gift or something a little unusual or different you’re sure to find it on the day!

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Lecture – The Celts of Transylvania – Wednesday 26th November.


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Dr. Radu Zagreanu from The Museum Complex of Bistrita-Nasaud and Dr. Marius Ardeleanu from History and Archaeological Museum of Baia Mare county (Romania, Transylvania) invite all members and guests for an informal lecture on ‘’ The Celts of Transylvania”. In this lecture the audience is invited to travel along on a journey of the Celtic migration and interaction with Dacian culture of the eastern part of Europe, the return of the Celtic world through the Roman armies in this region during the Roman conquest of Dacia, Celtic elements reminiscent in local folklore and popular culture. It will be a unique experience focused onan area of the Celtic world poorly known in Western Europe. Celtic influence on Dacian population seems to have been very large, but several issues require further careful research and debates.

The lecture will cover some few topics such as: The Migration of Celtic people in the Balkans; Interaction with the native population (Dacians); Presentation of archaeological artifacts of Celtic origin from Transylvania; short presentations of La Téne culture in Transylvania; Celtic tribes in Transylvania; The Celtic Helmets from Transylvania (One of the best known and most often reproduced piece of Celtic art is the helmet found in awarrior’s chieftain’s grave at Ciume?ti, Romania); The Roman conquest and the arrival of Celtic auxiliary troops in Roman Dacia province; elements of Celtic influence in Transylvanian folklore and popular arts.

It will be an intriguing experience for those who want to make an imaginary journey to the ancient world of the Eastern Europe, by the time of the highest expansion of the Celtic civilisation to it’s end. Archaeological artifacts, linguistic reminiscences, artistic and cultural influences are extremely important for a greater understanding and clarity of events which helped to shape Europe history and forming an invisible ‘’bridge” of connection between different parts of the world.


Wednesday26th November 8pm

admission €5 for KAS members, €7 for non-members

Open Day at Rothe House & Garden – October 11th

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Discover more about Rothe House & Garden, Kilkenny on St. Canice’s Day

Have you ever wondered just what goes on in Rothe House & Garden on Parliament Street?  Now’s your chance to find out, on Saturday 11th October, when the good people of Rothe House are running an Open Day.  Running from 11 am to 4.30 pm there will be plenty of opportunity to drop in and see for yourself.


Did you know:

  • Rothe House offers a range of Children’s workshops throughout the year?


  • The House is owned by the Kilkenny Archaeological Society?


  • There’s a FETAC Level 5 full time course on offer: Business Studies, in conjunction with Waterford and Wexford ETB (places still available for 2014/2015)?


  • The Kilkenny Archaeological Society opens its library to the public three times a week?


  • The Society runs a programme of lectures and outings throughout the year, open to non members?


  • There are over 2,500 artefacts in the Society’s collection?


  • The garden is a reconstruction of the 17th century garden laid out by John Rothe Fitzpiers in the early 1600s?


  • 5 ducks live in the garden – Jemima, Rosie, Maisie, Gertrude and Mildred?


  • The House is the only complete urban house of its type and period in the country?


  • A Conservation Plan was put in place in 2002, and is now almost complete?


  • Most of the work undertaken at Rothe House over the past 50 years has been achieved by volunteers?



Find out more about all of this, by visiting Rothe House & Garden on Saturday 11th October.  Activities will include butter making, apple pressing and a taster for the Children’s workshops. There will also be the opportunity to dress up in costume and take your photograph! Or better still, put someone in the Stocks for a while.

Cara O’Doherty, from the Barn Own Players, will be in the House for the day, and will present a 10 minute play about Kilkenny in the 17th century – the historical period that Rothe House represents.

Admission is free to all during these times – so drop in and see for yourself what happens behind the gate at Rothe House & Garden.

This is a fundraising event for the Renaissance Project.  Donations on the day will be very welcome.


For more details, contact Roisin McQuillan on 086 3415626, email

New Genealogy Course in Rothe House.

Patrick Nolan, chairman of the Kilkenny Archaeological Society and Director of Irish Origins Research Agency will once provide a family history course in Rothe House.  This hugely popular course will take place over 6 Tuesdays between October 21st and December 9th with a field trip to Dublin on December 9th.



The course is designed for those who would like to undertake their own family history research and provides the applicant with the tools and know how to materially advance their family history.

Places on this course are limited so advance booking is highly recommended.  Price per participant is €95 and can be paid in cheque or at reception.  For more information or to pick up a course brochure with further reading  please contact us or call into reception at Rothe House.

Rothe House & Garden,
Parliament Street,

056 77 22 893

Culture Night 2014


Culture Night 2014


Hi all!

Culture Night 2014 is almost upon us once more.  The evening/night of 19th September 2014 will see a whole host of special cultural events nationwide and Kilkenny is no exception! With no shortage of history and culture there is a wide range of activities and events to choose from and enjoy; for all ages, likes and tastes!

Here at Rothe House & Garden we will be hosting Dig It Kids for yet another fun kids archaeology dig.  The dig, open to kids aged 6-12 is a hands on means of learning about our past is a fun environment; definately not one to be missed!

There will be two workshops on the evening of Friday, 19th September, thefirst at 3pm and the second at 6pm.  Both workshops last approx 2 hours and pre booking is essential as these workshops tend to fill up fast!  To book your kid(s) in for the dig please contact Dig It Kids directly at (01) 2968190 or by email at

While the kids are in digging why not attend some events yourself? Have a look at the digital brochure in the link below and don’t forget to explore, experience and enjoy!

Click here for full listings of Kilkenny Culture Night events -> Culture Night KK 14

Colm gives insightful look at Rothe House.

On Tuesday afternoon, 26th August, as part of the National Heritage Week events, Colm Murray whom is the architectural officer with the Heritage Council gave two very insightful tours to a number of very interested visitors!

Colms tours looked at the early history of the house in its social, political and religious context but focused for a greater part of his tour on the architectural elements of the houses and courtyards; helping the visitors understand what the fabric of the building can teach us about times past and not only the founders of the house, the Rothe family, but subsequent tenants of all social classes whom inhabited the house since.

As a functioning set of buildings it has existed for over 400 years in various guises; from the grandeur of a fine cloth and fabric shop to dark and dire tenements, but, that each one of these layers and what they have added to the history of the houses is important.  The conservation of the house has been ongoing for over a hundred years Colm explained when Timothy O’Hanrahan took ownership of the complex in the late 19th century, at a time of Gaelic revival.  His alterations to the house, although very much of their time, incorporated some features of the original house, but unfortunately aren’t true to the late Tudor origins of the house.  However, these alterations, or modernization’s done with the best of intentions in that particular time made the house habitable and possibly saved it from ruin; thus adding another fascinating element to the old story.

Its worth noting too that the restoration and preservation of Rothe House goes on; and has done since the Kilkenny Archaeological Society took ownership of the buildings in the 1960’s.  Even today, with the Renaissance Project, the preservation of the houses and garden is paramount so that such a fine, and unique site can be maintained and enjoyed by all whom visit.IMG_0288 IMG_0298 IMG_0303 IMG_0307 IMG_0313

Mary; How Does the Garden Grow? 15th August 2014

Its Friday once more, the end of a busy week in Rothe House & Garden, this week being a particularly busy one as it is the Kilkenny Arts Festival!  So, not only has there been the crunch of the pebbles under visitors feet as they browse around the garden, or the crunch of an apple from the orchard but also the sound of sweet music coming from musicians whom have played in the garden during the week for short, impromptu ‘Secret Garden Music’ sessions.  These small gigs lasted only 20 minutes tops but attracted many visitors to the garden, all of whom were in no rush to leave after the event was over, obviously enjoying the little haven in the midst of the city and no doubt taking advantage of the free admission to the garden for the particular musical sessions.

American folk singer Sam Amidon playing to a happy audience in the garden.

American folk singer Sam Amidon playing to a happy audience in the garden.



But alas, as delightful as this music was the work in the garden must go on, nature doesn’t pause, although, one has to wonder if the music proved beneficial? Well, we’ll see.  But for now we figured we might take a look at some more of the vegetables and herbs on offer in the garden.  The first one we looked at, and, our attention was easily drawn too was the winter savory.  This plant seemed to be alive with the hum and buzz of bee’s, obviously enjoying what it had to offer.

Bee's hard at work in the Winter Savory

Bee’s hard at work in the Winter Savory


Mary explained that this herb is similar to thyme, but stronger and slightly more spicy!  Breaking off a few leaves and rubbing them between my fingers I discovered that the smell was quite strong indeed!  This particular herb would have been popular for use in soups and stews, but, in small amounts for reasons already noted.  Its strength of taste meant that it could be dried and used throughout the winter.  It is propagated by seeds and pruned back hard in winter Mary explained.

Mary next showed me the beans which have really taken off upon the structure she built for them.  The plant has very distinctive deep orange flowers and, on closer inspection the bean pods! This variety, Scarlet Runner, is a 17th century plant.  The beans are best picked when young and quite tender, other wise if left to grow larger (and apparently they can grow very large according to Mary!) they become tougher and very stringy with a  woody taste; not good!

Scarlet Runner beans

Scarlet Runner beans


Runner bean pods.  Young and ready to be picked.

Runner bean pods. Young and ready to be picked.



Next to the beans, on a structures of their own can be found two variety of peas; the first being Robinson Peas and the latter, Irish Green.  The Robinson Peas are very much in season now and upon trying some, as is necessary, they are quite sweet!  Mary jokes that these peas never make it to the pot! They are simply too delicious and are usually being ate as their being picked!!

The second variety of pea, Irish Green, is just about out of season, a few meager pods remain that weren’t snapped up in time, gone brown and woody now, they, like the rest of the plant will be chopped down and dug back into the soil.  A form of natural recycling to support next years growth.

While we’re talking about peas, how about a little Tudor recipe for Thick Pea Pottage for those whom the idea of pea soup appeals to!

The Tudor’s Thick Pea Pottage, 1591

Irish Greens finished for another year.

Irish Greens finished for another year.



Just to cap things off Mary drew my attention to the clay pots that sit atop of the cane structures on which the peas are growing.  I was informed that this was known as a ‘cornet’ and serves to hold the canes in place while also appearing decorative!  So, with that, it was time to prepare for more music in the garden, music that might make the grass even greener and the peas even….sweeter? Like I said, we’ll see! 😉

Clay cornett pot.

Clay cornett pot.