Church Monuments Society

St Marys Kilkenny

Kilkenny: Memorial Capital of Ireland



Kilkenny Ireland

To those interested in monuments, Kilkenny is a Mecca, hosting a wealth of examples from all periods and it has also been a centre for monumental carving.  This was recently brought into focus by the creation of a new museum within one of the city’s medieval churches, that displays a panoply of monuments spanning some six hundred years.  Many belong to the church, while others have been brought from elsewhere and some have been discovered in the course of archaeology in this important medieval town.  Added to this is the very large and extremely important collection in the cathedral and many more at other sites in the city. Consequently, Kilkenny is the ideal location for a discussion of Irish monuments and provides a microcosm that can act as an introduction to the subject.  This is why Kilkenny is the venue for the Society’s first study trip abroad.

The event is being organised jointly with the long-established Kilkenny Archaeological Society (who have their own base and museum at the sixteenth century Rothe House) with a programme intended to appeal to Irish and British alike.  Speakers will consider not only memorials themselves but also the influences acting on them and some of the special considerations relevant to the Irish context.  The weekend will start with a reception at the Rothe House, followed by a half day lecture session and a church visit on both Saturday and Sunday.

Ireland is very easy to reach, being only a short flight from the UK with frequent services by budget airlines from airports across the country.  There are also several ferry routes available.  Once in the country, Kilkenny is easily accessible by road.  It is only 80 to 100 miles from Dublin, Shannon and Cork airports (1½ – 2 hours travelling).  Kilkenny can also be reached by train from Dublin (Heuston Station) and Waterford.  There are several trains a day, the journey taking around an hour and a half.  Accommodation in and around Kilkenny is plentiful, ranging from budget hostels to five star hotels.

Attendance will cost only €50 for Society members or €60 for non-members (please note the currency).  Pricing is in Euros since disbursements will be in that currency and also due to the continuing volatility of the Pound.  The cost will cover attendance at the lecture sessions, entry to St Canice’s Cathedral and the Medieval Mile Museum in St Mary’s church, lecture session refreshments and a reception at the Rothe House on the Friday evening.  Attendees will need to make their own travel and accommodation arrangements.  Lunches and dinners are not included but there will be an optional dinner at a restaurant in the city, on the Saturday evening.

Speakers will include:

Amy Harris on the late medieval and early modern monuments of Kilkenny

Colm Lennon (Emeritus Professor of History, Maynooth University) on the Reformation and counter-reformation in Kilkenny and their impact on monuments

Con Manning (for many years Senior Archaeologist with the Irish National Monuments Service) on the non-effigial monuments in the medieval period

Cóilín Ó Drisceoil (Kilkenny Archaeology) on the archaeology of medieval Kilkenny, with particular reference to St Mary’s church

Salvador Ryan (Professor of Ecclesiastical History, St Patrick’s College, Maynooth) on the Arma Christi in Medieval and Early Modern Ireland

Roger Stalley (Fellow Emeritus, History of Art, Trinity College Dublin) on way the various types of stone available in Ireland were exploited by medieval masons and sculptors

Brian & Moira Gittos on the 14th century monuments of Kilkenny and its hinterland


If you would like to attend the weekend, please contact Brian & Moira Gittos, 4, Linden Road, Yeovil, Somerset, BA20 2BH; phone number 01935 420112 E-mail: The deadline for applications is 29th February 2020.