A visit to Rothe House and Garden Kilkenny City

In autumn of this year  I  spent quiet a bit of time in Kilkenny with work. I also managed to do some sight seeing  and spend some time at a number of historic sites within the former medieval city.

Rothe House  a late 16th/early 17th century merchant’s townhouse, built between 1594 and 1610  was a definite highlight. The site consists of complex of three houses and three enclosed courtyards, with a large garden at the rear.

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View of Rothe House from Parliament Street.

For a brief overview of the history of the site see the video below

The houses are fascinating and on my visit  I availed of a  self-guided tour, that takes the visitor through the Tudor buildings, highlighting  interesting historical facts and architectural features within the buildings.

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Rothe House  is full of surprises and also houses a small museum located in the third Tudor house built-in 1610,  at the rear of the complex.  The ground floor of this building was once the kitchen and now displays a wide array of archaeological artifacts from Kilkenny, some of which came from  the excavations of the  garden behind the house.

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For me the highlight of my visit was the reconstructed 17th century garden at the rear of this house. The garden was restored by the Kilkenny Archaeological Society and the Rothe House Trust and opened to the public by then President Mary McAleese in 2008.
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Door leading into the garden at Rothe House.

Prior to the opening  Kilkenny Archaeology carried out a series of archaeological  excavations within the garden  between 2005-7.

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Notice board detailing discoveries of excavations carried out at the garden at Rothe House.

The garden is the only Tudor townhouse garden to be investigated in detail  in Ireland.  As well as recovering over two thousand artefacts, the excavations uncovered valuable information about the arrangement of the planting beds, paths, walls and other features that formed the original Tudor garden.  The current garden planting design is heavily influence by the findings of these excavations and all the plants in the gardens are based on what was grown here in the 17th century.
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View of lower garden at Rothe House

The garden is divided into two sections.  The section closest to the house, know as the lower garden is planted with vegetables and herbs that include Deer Tongue lettuce, Scarlet Runner beans, Gortahork cabbage, Mammoth leeks, Lovage, Borage and Ladys bedstraw along with carrots, parsnips and pumpkins.

The other area, the upper garden or orchard contains a wide range of fruit trees: apple; medlar; quince and damson. The apple varieties include Blood of the Boyne and Scarlet Crofton.  The area is also home to a  noisy family of ducks.

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View of Fruit Trees in the orchard at Roth House

 

Rothe House and Gardens are open all year round and I highly recommend a visit even if it’s just to take some time out and relax in the wonderful garden.   My visit was in late autumn and there was still lots of colour in the garden. I am looking forward to returning next spring or summer to see what the garden is like at other times of the year. Information on the opening  times to the site are found in the links below.

Many thanks to Kilkenny archaeologist  Phil Kenny  for bringing me on a tour of the  museum and the wonderful garden at Rothe House.

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Useful Links

www.rothehouse.com

Virtual  360 degree tour Rothe House and Garden http://www.virtualvisittours.com/rothe-house/

http://www.askaboutireland.ie/reading-room/culturenet/landscape-heritage/kilkenny/rothe-house/

http://www.kilkennyarchaeology.ie/projects/rothe-house-garden-project/

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/03/country-diary-durham-gates-medlar-fruit-trees-conserve-mediaeval-edwardian-richard-mabey

 

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8 comments on “A visit to Rothe House and Garden Kilkenny City

  1. michael says:

    “third Tudor house built in 1610” ?

  2. Finola says:

    Lovely virtual tour! Looking forward to a real visit next year.

  3. Mujerárbol says:

    Very nice virtual tour, delighted to see the grapes. Looking forward to come back to Kilkenny some day.

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