Rothe House is the only example of an early 17th century merchant’s townhouse in Ireland. Rothe House was built between 1594 and 1610 by one of the city’s leading citizens at the time John Rothe Fitz Piers. The house actually comprises three buildings, one behind the other; the additional buildings were added in 1604 and 1610 to accommodate the merchant’s growing family of 12 children!
The Rothe Family, along with a handful of other wealthy families, dictated Kilkenny’s trade and controlled its civic government from the late Middle Ages until the 17th Century. Rothe House is open to the public as a Museum, displaying some of the 2,500 artefacts collected by the Kilkenny Archaeological Society since its founding in 1947. These artefacts all relate to Kilkenny, some dating as far back as pre-historic times.
Rothe House Gardens opened in 2008 and are a reconstruction of an early 17th century urban walled garden; the ½ acre gardens are also open to the public.
There is a genealogical service at Rothe House. The Kilkenny Archaeological Society has compiled an extensive database of Kilkenny city and county records. In addition to possessing a detailed computerised genealogical database at Rothe House, the society also employs a genealogist who can assist people who wish to discover more about their ancestors from Kilkenny city and county.