Church Monuments Society


Kilkenny: Memorial Capital of Ireland




In view of the Covid-19 virus epidemic, we have regretfully decided to postpone Kilkenny: Memorial Capital of Ireland. We hope it may be possible to rearrange it, perhaps in 2021.

We are leaving the original description on the web site as an encouragement to you to join us if a new date can be arranged.

We are however happy to return your cheques if you prefer.


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 the Medieval Mile 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 St Canice’s 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, with a programme intended to appeal to Irish and British alike.  It will be based at the  sixteenth century Rothe House in the centre of the town, the Kilkenny Archaeological Society’s headquarters and museum.  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 and lecture on Friday evening, followed by a half day lecture session and a church visit on both Saturday and Sunday.

The speakers are:

Amy Harris                 The late 16th and early 17th century memorials in Kilkenny, with a special emphasis on the Kerin school of sculptors

Colm Lennon              The Reformation and counter‑reformation in Kilkenny and their impact on monuments

Jim Higgins               Galway’s funerary monuments in context, the medieval and late medieval tradition in stone

Con Manning              The non-effigial monuments in the medieval period

Cóilín Ó Drisceoil       The archaeology of medieval Kilkenny, with particular reference to St Mary’s church

Salvador Ryan            The Arma Christi in Medieval and Early Modern Ireland

Roger Stalley              Masons and their Materials in early medieval Ireland

Brian & Moira Gittos 14th century Kilkenny Monuments: Connections & Comparisons

Click on the links below for the full programme and biographies of the speakers.

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 £46 (or €50) for members of either Society and £56 (or €60) for non‑members.   If payment in Euros is more convenient, we would be happy to accept cash when you arrive which would avoid the high bank charges for processing such cheques.  However, payment by cheque will be accepted and is preferred for Sterling transactions.  They should be made out to ‘Church Monuments Society’.


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 the reception.  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.

If you would like to attend the weekend, please contact Brian & Moira Gittos,  E‑mail:;  phone number: 01935 420112;  postal address: 4, Linden Road, Yeovil, Somerset, BA20 2BH.

Prior booking is essential.