16 Aug 2022

Kilkenny Castle welcomes The Ros Tapestry

Kilkenny Kilkenny Kilkenny

The Office of Public Works (OPW) is delighted to welcome The Ros Tapestry on exhibition to the historic surroundings of Kilkenny Castle, built by Isabel de Clare and William Marshal in the early 13th Century, and whose life stories are entwined in these fantastic tapestry panels.  

Speaking ahead of the launch Minister Patrick O’Donovan, Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, said: “This collaboration between The Board of The Ros Tapestry and the OPW is a great opportunity to showcase these exquisite panels, which commemorate the Norman history of New Ross and South East Ireland.  We should also appreciate the wonderful embroidery skills and sheer dedication of the many craftspeople who have for over 20 years worked tirelessly in bringing these characters to life.”

The Ros Tapestry exhibition, which will be launched by Olivia O’Leary, 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.

Mary Lou O’Kennedy from The Board of The Ros Tapestry said: "We, The Board are delighted to partner with the OPW who have created a stunning display of the Tapestry in the wonderful surroundings of Kilkenny Castle. This exhibition will bring the extraordinary work of its creators and stitchers to a  wider national and international audience which we hope will continue when it returns to its permanent home in the Norman Centre, currently under development in New Ross, Co Wexford."

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.

Inspired by the famous Bayeux Tapestry in France, the Ros Tapestry project is the brainchild of Rev. Paul Mooney, St Mary’s Church, New Ross, 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.

Viewing Information

Exhibition:         The Ros Tapestry

Location:            The Gallery, Kilkenny Castle, Kilkenny

Dates:                7 August – September 2023

Times:                Daily, 09:30–17:30 (last admission 17:00)


Admission:        Free (booking is essential)

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