Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile Museum opened to the public today Tuesday 28th Feb 2017. The former St Mary’s Church (St Mary’s Lane, Kilkenny) has been converted into a modern museum and will also be a venue for select events and exhibitions.
Designed to enrich the cultural life of the city and provide a new international standard attraction for visitors the museum has several functions:
The 13th century St Mary’s church and graveyard is the finest example of a medieval church in Ireland. As the starting point of the ‘Medieval Mile’ trail, it brings to life Kilkenny’s history as Ireland’s premier medieval city. Displays of Kilkenny’s civic treasures and replicas of some of the High Crosses of Ossory illustrate the local Gaelic monastic heritage and the ancient city’s historic role in Ireland.
Visitors to the museum will see some of Ireland’s finest examples of medieval sculpture and the country’s largest collection of Renaissance tombs. Highlights of the visit include the ornate Rothe Chapel with exposed tombs belonging to the medieval merchant Rothe family and the Kilkenny Room with its unique collection of ancient papers and civic records dating back to the 1200s. The Kilkenny Room also houses the pure silver Civic Sword and Mace, dating back to 1609 and the historically significant “Liber primus Kilkenniensis,” from 1231 which stands as one of the most important records of medieval town life in Ireland.
Kilkenny’s 800-year story is told with a contemporary twist within the new museum. The customer experience contains a long colourful interactive table similar to a giant IPad, an elongated plasma TV screen and projected imagery onto a giant wall allowing visitors to get immersed in the rich history with the aid of modern technology.
The Medieval Mile Museum commissioned by Kilkenny County Council represents an investment of €6.5m, with assistance from Failte Ireland’s Capital Programme and additional funding from Kilkenny Civic Trust. It follows a five-year excavation and renovation programme. Kilkenny Civic Trust are the licenced operators of the new museum.
Matt Doran Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council said ‘We are extremely proud of the calibre of the restoration project that provides visitors with a starting point for understanding Kilkenny’s rich medieval history’.
Patrick O Neill Mayor of the Municipal District of Kilkenny City said ‘This international standard cultural centre will inspire visitors to explore other attractions along Ireland’s Medieval Mile in Kilkenny and to visit other sites of significance across our city and county.’
Ciaran Conroy CEO of Kilkenny Civic Trust said ‘We are delighted to be afforded the opportunity to operate and manage this wonderful visitor attraction. It is an honour for Kilkenny Civic Trust to play its part in telling Kilkenny’s rich medieval story to the world’.
The Medieval Mile Museum will open seven days a week April – October (10am – 6pm) and six days a week November – March (11am – 4.30pm)
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