Minister O'Donovan launches new and exciting exhibition 'Kilkenny Networks – Merchants, Magnates & Courtiers' at Kilkenny Castle – Gov.ie

From Office of Public Works 
Published on 20 July 2022
Last updated on 20 July 2022
Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, Patrick O’Donovan, T.D., today launched Kilkenny Networks, a new and exciting exhibition that explores the pivotal role that Kilkenny Castle and the Ormondes played in the development and establishment of a great network of trade and cultural connections between the City and the rest of Europe.
Speaking at the launch, Minister O’Donovan said:
“I am delighted to be here today in Kilkenny Castle to launch this new exhibition which showcases the ‘networking’ skills of our predecessors who created cultural, trade and commercial links between Kilkenny and mainland Europe in a time way before modern technology, mobile phones and the Internet. It shows the importance of these networks which are the backbone of society and still are as important today as they were back in the 15th century. It is fascinating to learn about these individual characters and how their involvement developed and improved Kilkenny’s financial and cultural status.”

This exhibition, researched and curated by Dr. Jane Fenlon, brings us right back to medieval times, a time when Ireland was as intertwined with European life as it is today. The networking circle created by the Ormonde family and benefitting the Kilkenny merchants was at the highest and wealthiest level of society of the day and was a springboard for the development of Kilkenny financially, architecturally, and culturally.
It explores the impact of such cultural proximity and aims to broaden our knowledge of the early Ormonde earls, their position in society, their courtly contacts and importance on the international stage, their patronage of the arts and their travels. It also looks at some of the major historical figures who formed part of the Ormondes’ extensive network during the period, for example, Elizabeth I of England, Cardinal Wolsey, Anne Bolyen, Katherne Parr to mention but a few.

Of vital importance, too, through playing a part in the financial and legal affairs of the earls of Ormonde, were the Kilkenny merchants, who often had a role as merchant bankers. Forming a civic oligarchy, they had a pivotal position in the development and enrichment of the town through engagement in trade with major British and European ports.

The leading families in Kilkenny in the16th century were: Archdekin, Archer, Cowley, Langton, Lee, Knaresborough, Lawless, Ragget, Rothe and Shee, as well as Hacketts, Savages, Sherlocks, Walshes and Murphys.

Photography from the launch will be available from Vicky Comerford info@vickyphotography.ie or for further information, please contact pressoffice@opw.ie

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LISTINGS INFORMATION
Exhibition: Kilkenny Networks – Merchants, Magnates & Courtiers
Location: The Blue Corridor Exhibition Rooms, Kilkenny Castle, Kilkenny
Dates: 18th July 2022 – 18th July 2025
Times: Daily, 09:30–17:30 (last admission 17:00)
Website: kilkennycastle.ie/calendar
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