A contemporary museum showcasing Ireland’s medieval past has opened today in a 13th century church in Kilkenny, following a five year restoration job and an investment of €6.5 million.
Located in St. Mary’s church in Kilkenny, the Medieval Mile Museum tells the stories of the people who built and attended the church between the years 1200 and 1650, as well as charting the 800-year history of the area. A range of modern technologies such as large touch screen interfaces, projectors and plasma screens have been incorporated into the museum, offering guests the chance to learn about the past in extremely modern and dynamic surroundings. The museum also displays Killkenny’s Civic Treasures, such as the Ossory High Crosses and a collection of magnificent stone carved tombs. The space will also be used for select events and exhibitions designed at enriching the cultural life of the city.
Many significant artefacts were unearthed at the site during the restoration of the church and the grounds, which have subsequently been added to the exhibitions on display in the museum. An exhibition also concentrates on the foundation of the Chill Chainnigh monastery by St Canice, charting the history of the royal seat of Cearbhall Mac Dúnlainge, King of Ossory and the patron that erected the internationally renowned high crosses that are now included in the museum. Displays also showcase the stone sculptural traditions of Ireland that extended from the Neolithic period through to the modern era. Period original examples are on display in the museum’s Monument Room as well as in the graveyard on the site.
The museum is part of Ireland’s Ancient East, a recent project that was launched to promote tourism in the region. The Medieval Mile Museum is thought to add incentive for people thinking of travelling to Ireland, while Tourism Ireland announced this week that it expects a record breaking 1.7 million North American visitors in 2017. More information on the Medieval Mile Museum is available on the official website.
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