Current and Past Exhibitions

The Ros Tapestry, a tale told in thread.

6th August 2021- September 2022

The Ros Tapestry exhibition has drawn in thread the story of the Normans and their arrival in the Southeast of Ireland and the consequent development of the dynamic port of Ros is depicted in a series of fifteen large striking embroidered panels. From the initiation of a Celtic King to Hiberno-Norman commerce, the cultural legacy of Leinster is immortalised in stitches.

Everyone can now see this amazing exhibition, which is a fantastic legacy for the country, combining as it does wonderful art, admirable craftsmanship, and a multitude of fascinating stories.

The Ros Tapestry project is the brainchild of Rev. Paul Mooney, St Mary’s Church, New Ross, inspired by the famous Bayeux Tapestry in France, who conceived the idea of creating a series of tapestries to commemorate the Norman history of New Ross and South East Ireland.

The first tapestry was completed in 2002 and to date 14 of the 15 tapestries are finished. The final one is being stitched in Kilkenny and is nearing completion.  Volunteers throughout the country have done all the stitching, with well over 150 stitchers contributing, working both at home and in local venues.  Each tapestry is embroidered on to Jacobean linen twill fabric with woollen thread using a multitude of different stitches, such as ‘Long and Short’, ‘French knots’ and ‘Bullion knots’.  It takes approximately 1 hour to stitch 1 square inch and can take anything from 3 to 7 years to complete a panel.

Admission to the Ros Tapestry Exhibition is included in the General Admission Ticket.

An audio guide was produced by Abarta Heritage on behalf of Ros Tapestry to accompany the exhibition.

A guide book is available to purchase on site from the Ticket Desk (€7 – Credit Card only)

Kilkenny Cat Walk Trail

10 October 2021- Easter 2022

OPW is delighted to adopt and host two Kilkenny Cats on the grounds of the Castle, as part of the Kilkenny Catwalk Trail, which will officially launch on Sunday 10 October and continue until Easter 2021.  This very special exhibition features 21 magnificent cat sculptures, which have been exquisitely decorated and are located in some of Kilkenny’s most beautiful public spaces and heritage sites.  Visitors will be invited to download a special trail app and thus enjoy their trail adventure through town.

The Cat models are 5ft tall fibreglass resin sculptures based on ‘The Secret of Kells’ character, ‘Pangur Bán’ which was created by four-time Academy Awards®, Golden Glove®, BAFTA and Emmy nominated Kilkenny-based Animation Studio – ‘Cartoon Saloon’.

We are thrilled to announce that this very special original‘‘Pangur Bán’, which was designed by Bonnie Mier from Cartoon Saloon is now a resident of the formal Rose Garden of Kilkenny Castle for the duration.  We are also delighted to welcome our second Cat – ‘Pangur A la’n which was decorated by Francis Tansey and will sit happily in the courtyard area.

This project is a partnership between Kilkenny Civic Trust and Kilkenny County Council and was created by The Art of Tourism who specialise in the delivery of public art trails.

Irish Craft Heroes

22 July – 6 October 2021
Kilkenny Castle Park & Castle Yard
Park Opening Hours

OPW is delighted to support Irish Craft Heroes with this major outdoor exhibition celebrating makers whose work has significant legacy, has heralded new approaches or changed the way we look at the world.

The exhibition charts the evolution of the craft and design sector in Ireland over the last 50 years and pays homage to the many makers whose work has contributed to the rich tapestry of craft and design practice in Ireland. Produced by Design & Crafts Council Ireland with support from the Office of Public Works, Kilkenny County Council and Kilkenny Arts Festival.

Through an open call the craft community and public were invited to nominate their #IrishCraftHero; makers whose work inspires and has significantly impacted the sector over the past 50 years. Over 600 nominations were received, and an expert committee was convened, charged with narrowing the selection to 50 makers, reviewing all nominations on criteria of skill, design, impact, innovation and originality. The nominations demonstrated the wealth of inspirational makers working in Ireland throughout the last 50 years. It also highlighted that so many other heroes significantly contribute to the craft community through commitment to education; leading development of disciplines through guilds, associations networks and societies; establishing innovative projects to support makers, or indeed advocating on behalf of the sector.

The Irish Craft Heroes exhibition, celebrating 50 years of Irish craft, coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Design & Crafts Council Ireland’s (DCCI) establishment in 1971. Following its launch in Kilkenny, the outdoor exhibition will tour to Dublin Castle, Belfast, Galway and Cork through to 2022.

Further information from: www.ndcg.ie/exhibitions/irish-craft-heroes