International Museum Day May 18th 2022

800 years of history under one roof…

It’s International Museum Day and we wanted to give you a little background information on the Medieval Mile Museum, Kilkenny.

The History of the Building

Following an award-winning restoration by McCullough Mulvin Architects, the former St Mary’s Church has been converted into a modern museum. Designed to enrich the cultural life of the city and provide a new international standard attraction for visitors the museum has several functions: as the starting point for understanding Kilkenny’s medieval history, to display Kilkenny’s Civic Treasures and replicas of some of Ossory High Crosses and to provide a space for temporary exhibitions and cultural events.

The Museum Today

We are delighted to be among the many fantastic attractions along Irelands Medieval Mile. As the starting point of the Medieval Mile trail, the Museum brings to life Kilkenny’s history as Ireland’s premier medieval city.

Visitors to the museum will marvel not only at some of Ireland’s finest examples of medieval sculpture, but also the country’s largest collection of Renaissance tombs. Stepping into the Rothe Chapel you will find the best surviving example of a medieval chantry chapel in Ireland.

Stories of power and wealth written and preserved in magnificent stone carvings – Our High Cross exhibition introduces the High Kings of Ossory and the foundation of the monastery of Kilkenny by St Canice. The displays describe how Kilkenny has the finest stone sculptural tradition in Ireland extending from the Neolithic period of 5,000 years ago to the modern era.

Books, Letters, Petitions, Leases… Kilkenny holds a unique set of civic records, tracing the city’s history right back to the 1200s. The ancient papers and treasures tell fascinating stories about daily life in a medieval city governed by wealthy merchants and are on display in the Kilkenny Room along with the Liber Primus – Kilkenny’s extraordinary town book.

Our cutting-edge exhibition, 3 lives, 3 deaths, One life unlived welcomes the return of three skeletons that were excavated at the main gate of the museum in 2016. We have learned a lot about these individuals’ lives through scientific analysis and historical research.

The atmospheric medieval graveyard – A place of rest for the great and good of Kilkenny for 800 years, the graveyard is now an oasis for wildlife in the centre of the city. Bats, butterflies and bees have made their homes here as well as a variety of plants.

Our wonderful, expert storytelling Tour Guides give visitors a wonderful introduction with Guided Tours and a Medieval Mile Trail City Walking Tour running daily. We also offer an Interactive Audio Tour allowing visitors to explore the Museum at their own pace.


The Museum’s education and outreach programmes for schools and the wider community are central to its operational strategy and are a key priority. We offer a range of engaging educational experiences tailored to each group. Our School Tours and Workshops link closely with the primary and secondary curricula. We also offer tours for Third-Level and Language School Students.


Ideally located in the heart of the city centre the Medieval Mile Museum also provides a stunning, atmospheric backdrop for a private function or corporate event striking the perfect balance of traditional and contemporary features. We have hosted many great local festivals and events, most recently Kilkenny Tradfest and April Sounds, along with beautiful, unique wedding ceremonies.

For more information on the Museum, please don’t hesitate to get in touch directly at