19 Aug 2022

South-East’s ‘Bayeux Tapestry’ goes on display at Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Kilkenny Kilkenny

At the opening of the Ros Tapestry exhibition in Kilkenny Castle

Tapestry panels telling the 13th century story of Isabel de Clare and William Marshal have gone on display in Kilkenny Castle.

Created over 20 years of stitching members of the Ros Tapestry project, the tapestry will be on display in Kilkenny for the next two years, while its new home is developed in New Ross.
The exhibition, which echoes that of the Bayeux Tapestry, was officially opened by Olivia O’Leary.

Drawn in thread is the story of the Normans, their arrival in the South East of Ireland and the consequent development of the port of Ros. It is depicted in a series of 15 large, striking panels.
From the initiation of a Celtic King to Hiberno-Norman commerce, the cultural legacy of Leinster is immortalised in stitches.

Above: A scene from the Ros Tapestry

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. 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 different stitches, such as ‘Long and Short’, ‘French knots’ and ‘Bullion knots’.  It takes about an hour to stitch one square inch and can take from three to seven years to complete a panel.

The Ros Tapestry is now on display in Kilkenny Castle. Admission is free but must be booked in advance.

Listings Information

Dates:                7 August – September 2023

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


Admission:        Free (booking is essential)

Pictured at the top of the story: At the opening of the Ros Tapestry exhibition at Kilkenny Castle: (Front)Anto Rogers (Board Ros Tapestry), Jenny Nuthall (Board), Mary Lou O’Kennedy (Board), Olivia O’Leary, Ann Bernstorf, Mary Heffernan (OPW). Back: Maureen Clerkin (Board), Pat Barden (Chairman New Ross Municipal District), Pat Kent (Board), Rosemary Collier (OPW), Connie Tantrum (Board), Rev Paul Mooney, Gene O’Sullivan (Board) and Alexis Bernstorf. Inset: a panel from the tapestry PICTURE: Vicky Comerford

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