Recently, I did a review of The Rothe House Gardens in Kilkenny. It is recommended to read it and the comments for this post to make sense. Read it and pop back here after…..
I’ve done many reviews. Some of the places I’ve seen were a disgrace. Some amazing. But the intention is not to cause upset, rather to give an honest appraisal. In most cases I have emailed the department or association.
I did get a comment in on The Rothe House review after some time though. It was from Roisín McQuillan the manager of The Rothe House in Kilkenny. And I replied. I also picked up the phone that evening and rang Roisín. After she sent me on this mail. The above images were attached.
Thanks for your phone call this afternoon, it was great to speak to you. As we discussed, I’m sending you some images of the garden ‘before’ and ‘after’, so that you can see the work which has been done to get us to where we are today.
The garden has been reconstructed by Rothe House Trust Limited and Kilkenny Archaeological Society, as part of its Conservation Plan. The objective was to reconstruct a 17th century urban garden. A steering committee was formed, chaired by Dearbhala Ledwidge, Heritage Officer with Kilkenny County Council. This committee undertook research into the design of the garden, which was complemented by an extensive archaeological dig.
The plot of land had been used by the OPW as a carpark and storage facility, and the whole area was overlaid with 3ft of concrete. There were various sheds around the area which had to be pulled down. Funding was received from Fáilte Ireland, Kilkenny Borough Council and Kilkenny Civic Trust, with the balance being raised by private fundraising. The final cost of the project was over €600,000.
The work began in January 2006, when the area was cleared and the dig commenced. This dig found over 2,000 artefacts relating to life in the garden area over 700 years (as far back as the Cistercians in the 1300s). The results of the dig determined the final design of the garden, as we sought to be as authentic as possible to the original design. The planting beds of the 17th century were located, and these have been positioned in the exact spot. Cross walls which were built after the 17th century were knocked, and a new wall was built on the line of a wall which had originally been there. A master stonemason was employed to restore the original boundary walls, and new walls were built where gaps had occurred over the years.
The planting scheme is as authentic as we can make it. Research was undertaken into the types of plants which were grown in the 17thGardener’s Labyrinth which she uses as her ‘bible’ for planting. We include vegetables, herbs, aromatic plants, fruit trees and shrubs, bulbs etc. Each autumn we plant bulbs, all of which have a pedigree going back to the late 16th or early 17th century. These have given us great colour in the garden last Spring. century. Mary, our Gardener, plays close attention to the
I attach two images at present, one before the work began and one shortly after the garden was opened. You can see the amount of work which had to be completed.
The Garden was officially opened by Mrs Mary McAleese, President of Ireland, on 11th April 2008, and in its first summer it won the Regional and National Landscape Awards with the Tidy Towns Competition.
Next week, I will send you some further images of the garden to illustrate the amount of work which was done to ensure that the Garden opened on time, and within budget.
As I explained, we are now embarking on our final Capital Project, the Renaissance Project, which will re-present the entire House & garden to the public in a new and very exciting way.
With kind regards, and have a good weekend.
Rothe House, Kilkenny
So now I have an invitation to visit and to meet and greet those responsible for the grounds. Roisín has done her job extremely well. Fact. And those who never knew about The Rothe House Trust House and Gardens are now a little wiser. Bulaidh bós Roisín. Standing ovation.
By the way, very logically they have also put their sat nav co ordinates up on their website. Smart people.
What do you think….?
Sat Nav Co-ords: 52o 39.3’ N, 7o 15.3’ W