Heritage Council opening its doors for Culture Night in Kilkenny

The Heritage Council is hosting a special event at its headquarters in Kilkenny this Friday, September 22nd, for Culture Night 2023.

The evening, which is free to attend, will feature a theatrical performance, short films, tours of the building and a mini photographic exhibition.

The event gives people the opportunity to see inside and learn about this historic Georgian house, which was known as the Bishop’s Palace until it became the Heritage Council headquarters in 2008.

It was built around 1350 for Bishop of Ossory Richard de Ledrede who was known for his aggressive condemnation of heresy and witchcraft, and was a central figure in the Kilkenny witch trials of 1324, including the trial of Dame Alice Kyteler.

The building continued to be occupied by successive bishops and their families over the centuries including Rosie Polden, the granddaughter of Bishop John Percy Phair who was Bishop of Ossary in the 1950s. For one night only, you can find out what life was like for her growing up in this historic building through a special performance with Kilkenny actor Rosey Hayes.

Following the performance, our in-house tour guides will be on hand to lead people around the building, and the evening will conclude with a short exhibition of photographs of the building past and present.

This is the first time since 2019 that the Heritage Council has participated in Culture Night festivities following a three-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The event is free, but we are advising people to register via Eventbrite in advance of the event as capacity is limited.

There are two time slots available for the event: 7pm and 8pm

The building is an important part of Kilkenny’s built heritage, and its reuse has preserved it for the future. It was officially opened as the headquarters of the Heritage Council by President Mary McAleese in April 2008 and renamed Áras na hOidhreachta.