Butler Art Gallery4
Butler Art Gallery4

Kilkenny’s Butler Gallery in New Location

Kilkenny’s Butler Gallery, once housed in the basement of Kilkenny Castle, relocated last year to the historic Evans House at John’s Quay in the heart of the city.

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The Butler Art Gallery in its new home, the former Evans House. Photo: Brian Cregan, Failte Ireland.

The gallery was officially opened on Aug. 6, 2020, in a ceremony that marked its total transformation from a derelict building to a modern art exhibition facility.

Funds in the amount of €6 million were raised to move Kilkenny's Butler Gallery.

Kilkenny's Butler Gallery is considered one of Ireland’s most important art galleries outside of Dublin as it regularly features small exhibitions featuring the work of contemporary artists.

The History of The Evans House

The Evans House was built in 1818 on the site of a former military barracks, which became an almshouse for impoverished male and female domestic servants.

A 12th-century Augustinian priory and later an Anglican church is also said to have been situated there.

Photo: Brian Cregan, Failte Ireland.

The funds to construct the Evans House were a gift from Joseph Evans, whose ancestors were granted land in Kilkenny during the Cromwellian conquest of the 1600s.

In his will, Evans declared that his entire fortune and extensive properties be given to charitable organizations in Kilkenny, including a school, a home for impoverished servants, support for orphans, in addition to apprenticeships and marriage dowries for the poor.

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The historic building was later used to accommodate an infant school and overflow books from the adjacent Carnegie Library, one of several libraries across Ireland that were established using the funds of the U.S. steel magnate Andrew Carnegie.

It was in use until the 1990s as a nursing home.

Kilkenny County Council assumed ownership of it in 1997.

The Butler Art Gallery. Photo: Courtesy Brian Cregan, Failte Ireland.

The Butler Gallery hosts several exhibitions and cultural events. You can find a list of the current ones here.

Admission is free. Tickets, however, are required and must be booked online.

Covid-19 guidelines are still being followed.

Other interesting things to see in the Kilkenny area include a visit to the Medieval Mile Museum.

three people looking at a screen Kilkennys Butler Gallery
The Medieval Mile Museum in Kilkenny. Photo: Brian Morrison for Tourism Ireland.

Other tourist attractions worth seeing include the Rothe House, the St. Canice’s Cathedral and Round Tower, the Kilkenny Famine Experience, and much more.

a building with arches Kilkennys Butler Gallery
The Rothe House on Kilkenny's Medieval Mile. Photo: Failte Ireland.

If you’re interested in learning how Ireland’s most popular ale is brewed, then stop by the Smithwick’s Experience.

two people outside a building Kilkennys Butler Gallery
Smithwick's Brewery in Kilkenny. Photo: Brian Morrison for Tourism Ireland.

The 1-hour guided brewery tour includes the history of beer-making in Kilkenny, a tradition that began with the local Franciscan monks.

Learn, also, about the brewing process and finish your tour with a Smithwick’s beer tasting.

Purchase Tickets to the Smithwicks Experience Kilkenny

If you’re hungry, Kilkenny is full of great restaurants, trendy cafes, and pubs.

people on a street Kilkennys Butler Gallery
Kyteler's Inn is situated in the heart of Kilkenny..Photo: Elisa.rolle – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57549236

The most popular watering hole in Kilkenny is Kyteler’s Inn, with parts of the building dating to the 13th or 14th centuries. It will forever be associated with Dame Alice Kyteler, who was accused of witchcraft.

The building has been used as an inn since 1639.

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