Giant Irish Deer
This species became extinct over 10,000 years ago. The example on display was found just north of Kilkenny City in Swiftsheath and hangs on the wall at the same height it would have stood when it was alive – over 2 metres! The giant deer skull and antlers are displayed in the Phelan Room in the First House.
17th Century Table
A recent acquisition by Kilkenny Archaeological Society, the oak plank topped 17th century Refectory Table has carved frieze on varved and turned legs joined by moulded stretchers. It was acquired from a private Irish collection and donated to KAS by an anonymous donor.
King Post Truss Roof
This ceiling in the Lanigan Room shows a magnificent example of a king post truss. Supported by a central beam the roof was restored in the 1960s as part of the restoration of the house.
The Ros Tapestry
A Tale Told in Thread
Stitching of the Ros Tapestry started 25 years in New Ross, Co. Wexford. It depicts our Norman history and links many of the Norman sites in Ireland’s Ancient East. Fourteen completed panels are on display in Kilkenny Castle but you can see the 15th and final panel ‘Battles in the Kingdom of Ossory’ currently being completed in Rothe House.
The Lavery Collection
Sir John Lavery was a famous portrait painter in London and Dublin in the early 20th Century. His portraits include those of Michael Collins, Edward Carson, and prime ministers of Great Britain. Our collection includes a self-portrait (1909), and a portrait of his wife Lady Hazel Lavery (1926), a great beauty who famously appeared on Irish banknotes for much of the 20th Century.
The Shankill Costume Collection
The majority of this collection, which was donated to the Society in 1990, came from the ancestral home of the Toler-Aylward family, at Shankill, Co. Kilkenny. It consists of nearly 300 items, ranging from a magnificent 1894 wedding dress with its 10ft. train, to babies’ swaddles of the 1930s. Accessories include a 19th century wire bustle, a silk and lace shawl, stockings, parasols and hats.
This wonderful piece of craftsmanship was allegedly owned by the notorious Kilkenny Highwayman Captain James Freney (1719). He was known as the Robin Hood of Kilkenny and is famous in Kilkenny folklore and indeed across Ireland. The engraving on the butt of the gun shows the insignia of Lord Waterford, and it is believed that James Freney stole the gun from him during a raid.
Collection of Curiosities
Over 2,000 artefacts were found during archaeological excavations in the garden. Exotic items included Spanish pottery, German glassware as well as coins shoebuckles and hairpins.
This beam was recovered during demolition works at Potter’s Shop on High St. by a Clerk of Works for the OPW. Conservation works were carried out and the beam was returned to Rothe House in 2009. The conservation and cleaning revealed the full extent of the intricate dog tooth carving on the beam. This type of decoration is dated to the high medieval period, making this beam, given its size, almost one-of-a-kind in Ireland.