Life and Death in Medieval Kilkenny

Since 2017, the Medieval Mile Museum has shared the stories of Ireland’s most powerful patrons and inspired creators. In what was a 13th century parish church, the award-winning museum is now an amalgamation of cutting-edge architecture, archaeology, history and exhibition design.

When skeletal remains were discovered on site in the summer of 2016, the local community watched archaeologists uncover the findings. Now these remains, concealed for centuries, are central to a fascinating permanent exhibition. “Until the mid-1600s, only the very wealthy were buried in coffins” said Grace Fegan, Curator. “Poorer parishioners’ bodies were put directly into the soil, dressed in a shroud. It is ironic that these people are now alongside the grandiose, ornamental tombs of the super wealthy inside St Mary’s. It’s a nice ending to what must have been a very hard life”.

A professional archaeologist, Grace is well placed to assist students develop an historical consciousness, learn to work with evidence and acquire the ‘bigger picture’ through interactions with the museum’s collections. “It’s a joy to welcome students of any age to the museum, especially when the visit finishes with our famous LEGO Hunt!”. 

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