Kilkenny Castle becomes eighth OPW heritage site to receive prestigious museum standards award by Heritage Council


Kilkenny Castle received the accreditation at a virtual awards ceremony earlier this week, writes Shauna McCrudden 

Kilkenny Castle

The Office of Public Works (OPW) has announced that Kilkenny Castle received full accreditation under the Heritage Council’s Museum Standards Programme for Ireland (MSPI). 

In the citation read at the ceremony held virtually on Tuesday, 27th July, the team at Kilkenny Castle was praised for “meeting and exceeding the standards required for Full Accreditation status” and was commended for “the scale and quality of restoration work undertaken, the interpretative offer at the Castle, and development of a wide-ranging activities programme of the highest standard”.

Kilkenny Castle joins the ranks of seven other OPW heritage sites which already hold full museum accreditation: Farmleigh House was the first OPW site in 2011 to receive the award and maintained its accreditation at the event. It was followed by the Pearse Museum and Castletown House in 2012. Dublin Castle State Apartments and Rathfarnham Castle both achieved full accreditation in 2017, which was confirmed again this week. Earlier this year in February, at a separate virtual awards ceremony, Kilmainham Gaol Museum and the Glebe House and Gallery received their awards for achieving full museum standards.

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Congratulating Kilkenny Castle, as well as the other seven OPW sites that have achieved or maintained their MSPI accreditation over the past decade, Patrick O’Donovan, T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, said, “Being honoured by the Heritage Council with full museum accreditation is a great achievement for both the teams involved and the OPW. I commend our staff at our accredited museums as well as the central Collections Management Team in OPW’s Heritage Services, whose leadership, vision and expertise have supported their colleagues to achieve the highest professional standards.”

The purpose of MSPI is to benchmark and promote excellence across the Irish museum sector. The programme assesses all areas, from the care and presentation of museum collections to exhibitions, education programmes, visitor engagement and museum management. 

The eight successful OPW museums in Dublin, Donegal, Celbridge and Kilkenny have all followed a rigorous process over several years to comply with the set of 34 standards. And the result can be seen in the quality of their collections care, visitor experience and collaborations on significant loans and exhibitions.

Minister O’Donovan concluded, “During lockdown, staff found new ways to make their collections relevant and accessible to the public online, but our teams are delighted to be able to welcome visitors in person again this summer. I invite you to discover over the coming weeks the exciting exhibitions and inspiring educational programmes they have developed.”

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Details on opening times and booking requirements can be found at Admission is free at all OPW heritage sites to year-end. For more information, visit

Current exhibitions at OPW heritage sites:

Dublin Castle State Apartments

Exhibition: Vicereines of Ireland: Portraits of Forgotten Women

Dates: open daily, 31st May 2021 – 5th September 2021

Doneraile Court

Exhibition: Conjuring Forms (DCCI Portfolio)

Dates: 30th July – 12th September 2021

Dublin Castle Coach House Gallery

Exhibition: Dante’s Divine Comedy

Dates: open daily, 10th May 2021 – 10th October 2021 

Farmleigh Gallery

Exhibition: Passage, Fold & Multipolar: John Noel Smith at Farmleigh Gallery

Dates: Tuesday to Sunday, 18th June – 5th September 2021

Glebe House and Gallery

Exhibition: Turas – Journey (Eargail Arts Festival)

Dates: open daily, 29th May – 31st August 2021

Kilkenny Castle

Exhibition: The Ros Tapestry: A Tale Told in Thread

Dates: open daily from 7th August 2021

Kilkenny Castle Park

Exhibition: Irish Craft Heroes

Dates: open daily, 22nd July – 6th October 2021

Kilmainham Gaol Museum

Exhibition: The Forgotten 10

Dates: currently still closed in line with Covid-19 restrictions on indoor guided tours

Pearse Museum

Exhibition: Double Estate: Works from the OPW State Art Collection & Pearse Museum Collection

Dates: open daily

Rathfarnham Castle

Exhibition: Bite the Hand that Feeds You (PhotoIreland Festival 2021)

Dates: open daily, 5th July – 2nd August 2021

The Main Guard, Clonmel

Exhibition: 100 Years of Women in Politics and Public Life

Dates: Tuesday to Sunday, 24th June – 23rd September 2021





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