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New art museum now open in Kilkenny

By Sarah Finnan

August 6, 2020 at 11:27am

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A new art museum and cultural heritage site has opened in Kilkenny this morning. Housed in Evans' Home on John's Quay, Butler Gallery has made the move there from its previous location at Kilkenny Castle. Part of a €6million redevelopment project of the historic site, it's described as a "significant new tourist offering for Ireland's Southeast".

Expecting to attract 76,000 visitors a year, the building is sure to be a hit with art aficionados as it contains seven collection galleries which will all be used to display the Butler Gallery Collection of 20th-century Irish art. Another large exhibition space will feature temporary exhibitions of contemporary art.

Perched on the monastic site of St John's Priory, the museum is surrounded by walled gardens which have undergone the royal treatment and have been repurposed to accommodate an outdoor sculpture garden, a children’s garden, a wildflower garden and an exposition of the site's archaeology - the perfect spot for a wander when the sun shines.

Foodies will also be kept most happy with the onsite café. Complete with outdoor seating and some of the best views of the grounds.

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#ButlerGallery - The newest chapter in the story of the Butler Gallery is its relocation to the newly refurbished Evans’ Home. This hugely important move allows for highlights from the Butler Gallery Collection to be exhibited, includes a dedicated O’Malley wing, a double-height temporary gallery space, St. Canice’s Credit Union Learning Centre and a Digital Gallery. We also have the wonderful Muse Coffee+Food café located on the ground floor. The Butler Gallery’s new location at Evans’ Home was previously the site of a 12th Century Augustinian priory, a Jesuit seminary, a military hospital, and an army barracks built in the 1700s. Evans’ Home functioned as an almshouse for impoverished former domestic servants built in 1818. It was built from the squared and cut stones of the 18th Century barracks that stood here. These stones had been repurposed from the ruins of the medieval priory of St Priory. Beside the site, the elegant chancel of the Augustinian church survives as the Anglican church of St John. Evans’ Home closure in the 1990’s provided the opportunity for an imaginative new use for this handsome historic building. We are so looking forwarding to welcoming you when we open to the public on Thursday 6th August, so you can experience first-hand, the history of the site and the wonderful art that now resides at this magnificent heritage site. Image: @dynamitedesignltd #MakeABreakForIt #VisitKilkenny @musecoffeefood.ie @st.canicescu

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Two years in the making, Anna O’Sullivan, Butler Gallery Director, is confident that the new location is one of the finest exhibition spaces in Ireland. Speaking ahead of its opening tomorrow she commented:

"The historic site at Evans’ home has been re-imagined, with world-class facilities, as a space for contemporary art and learning.

This is one of the most significant additions to Ireland’s cultural and heritage portfolio of the past decade.

Apart from being a major free tourist attraction, for Ireland’s Southeast, the museum will become an important cultural hub for the people of Kilkenny."

Now open to the public, call in to the Butler Gallery art museum from Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 5pm.

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