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800 Years: Butler Gallery Digital Guide (FREE)

Butler Gallery's Digital Guide brings 800 years of the rich history to life.

Meet the Medieval monks, Cromwellian soldiers and impoverished servants who have all lived at the Evans’ Home site at some point over the last 800 years through augmented reality. Learn about the 148 Medieval burials discovered by archaeologists on the grounds when construction began on the site in 2010.

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View videos about Kilkenny's Medieval past, the history of Evans’ Home as a home for impoverished servants and the Kilkenny artists who established the origins of Butler Gallery nearly eighty years ago. Explore our wonderful Permanent Collection of modern and contemporary art and find out about the artists behind the works.

Learn about the conservation and transformation of our landmark Georgian building into a state-of-the-art contemporary art gallery by McCullough Mulvin Architects. The audio-trail is available in English, Irish, German, French, Spanish and Chinese. Audio descriptions of many of the works in the Permanent Collection are also available for those with visual impairments.

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GM with guided tour

Guided-Tours (FREE)

FREE Guided-tours are available every Saturday and Sunday at 3pm.
Booking Recommended

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Butler Gallery offers FREE weekend guided-tours which provide an engaging walk-through modern and contemporary Irish art of the 20th and 21st centuries. Our friendly and experienced tour guides introduce you to the wonderful artworks in both our Collection and O'Malley galleries along with the fascinating history of our Medieval location and refurbished Georgian building. Our guided tours take 1 hour.

For group guided-tours please contact Pauline Swaine, Visitor Services Manager on 056 776 1106 or by email at [email protected]

* Guided tours are currently limited to 15 people per tour.

Blaise Smith in his studio in County Kilkenny Photo by Conor Mc Cabe

Irish Art + Portrait Experience

Go behind the scenes of the Irish art world with a personal, exclusive tour of Butler Gallery with one of Ireland’s leading curators, and have your portrait sketched by one of Ireland’s leading portrait artists.

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Enjoy an introduction to the important collection of 20th and 21st century artworks in our Permanent Collection by Anna O'Sullivan, Butler Gallery Director and Chief Curator. Learn more about the life and works of some of Ireland’s best-loved painters such as Jack B. Yeats, Paul Henry, Mainie Jellett, Louis le Brocquy and many more. Gain an insight into the main developments in Irish art of the 20th century and its links to the trends in mainland Europe, the United States and beyond. Learn about the skills and techniques, along with the joys and challenges of curating and installing a contemporary art exhibition. Anna will also introduce guests to the current contemporary art exhibition showing in our main gallery.

After your personal tour of the gallery, guests will join Blaise Smith in the Collection Gallery to have their portraits sketched. Blaise will engage guests in the process of creating a work of art and introduce them to the techniques and methods he uses to create a likeness of his subject along with a balanced and appealing composition. Guests may take the portraits home with them or have them framed and shipped at a later date by Butler Gallery.

After your portrait has been sketched, guests can explore our wonderful Medieval setting, learn more about our Georgian-era almshouse building or enjoy some seasonal and local refreshments in MUSE coffee+food onsite.

More about Anna O'Sullivan
Prior to joining the Butler Gallery in 2005, Anna spent over twenty years in New York where she enjoyed the position of Director of Robert Miller Gallery. Anna has worked with many internationally-renowned artists and artist estates during her career including Alice Neel, Eva Hesse, Lee Krasner, Patti Smith, Mary Reid Kelley & Patrick Kelley, Fischli & Weiss, Michael Snow, Bob and Roberta Smith, Hans Op de Beeck, Ian Burns, Louise Bourgeois, Werner Herzog, Tony O’Malley and many more. In 2021 Anna was the recipient of the Royal Hibernian Academy for her contribution to visual the arts in Ireland. Anna was the Commissioner and Curator of the Irish Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale with Richard Mosse as the artist representing Ireland In 2013.

More about Blaise Smith
Blaise is a member of the Royal Hibernian Academy and has been commissioned to paint many notable portraits of leading figures from Irish politics, arts and academia. He has exhibited widely in Ireland and abroad and has won many awards including the BP Award at the National Portrait Gallery, London and the Irish Arts Review Portrait Prize. Blaise currently teaches advanced oil painting techniques, drawing and composition at the Royal Irish Academy Drawing School where he is Vice Principal. He lives in County Kilkenny.

  • This experience is ideal for two guests. A maximum of six people may be accommodated but only two guests will have their portrait sketched.
  • Gallery tour: 1 hour/ Portrait sketch 1.5 hours
  • This experience is offered all-year-round but not during short periods when the main gallery is closed for exhibition installation.
  • This experience is offered during opening hours and in the evening when Butler Gallery is closed to the public.

    For price and booking information, please contact [email protected]
    t. 00 353 (0)56 776 1106

    Directors Tour at Butler Gallery

    Director’s Tour

    Go behind the scenes of the Irish art world with one of Ireland’s leading contemporary art curators, Butler Gallery Director and Chief Curator, Anna O’Sullivan.

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    Anna introduces guests to the important collection of 20th century artworks in our Permanent Collection. Enjoy an introduction to works by some of Ireland’s best-loved painters such as Jack B. Yeats, Paul Henry, Mainie Jellett, Louis le Brocquy and many more. Gain an insight into the main developments in Irish art of the 20th century and its links to the trends in mainland Europe, the United States and beyond. Learn about the skills, techniques and joys and challenges involved in curating and installing a contemporary art exhibition.

    About Anna O’Sullivan
    Anna was the recipient of the Royal Hibernian Academy Gold Medal in 2021 for her contribution to the arts in Ireland.
    In 2013, Anna was the Commissioner and Curator of the Irish Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale with Richard Mosse as the artist representing Ireland. She has been a visiting lecturer at various third level institutions and served on many artist review panels including the Arts Council of Ireland and Culture Ireland. Anna graduated from the National College of Art & Design Dublin and also studied at the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program, New York and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Anna was a board member of Kilkenny Arts Festival from 2005-2020.

    Prior to joining the Butler Gallery in 2005, Anna spent over twenty years in New York, first as curator of Performance Art at the avant-garde arts venue Franklin Furnace and then as Director of the Robert Miller Gallery. Anna has worked with many internationally-renowned artists and artist estates during her career including Alice Neel, Eva Hesse, Lee Krasner, Patti Smith, Mary Reid Kelley & Patrick Kelley, Fischli & Weiss, Michael Snow, Bob and Roberta Smith, Hans Op de Beeck, Ian Burns, Louise Bourgeois, Werner Herzog, Tony O’Malley, Barry McGee, Jeanne Silverthorne and Eve Sussman.

    Group numbers: Min. 1 - Max. 10

    Duration: 1 hour tour

    Availability:

    • All year round.
    • Daytime Experience (Private Tour): Tuesday – Friday, 10am-5pm
    • Exclusive Daytime Experience (Butler Gallery closed to the Public): Monday, 10am-5pm
    • Exclusive Evening Experience (Butler Gallery closed to the Public): Monday-Wednesday, 5-8pm

    For price and booking information, please contact [email protected]
    t. 00 353 (0)56 776 1106

    School Tours at Butler Gallery

    School Tours (FREE)

    School tours for both primary and secondary school students are free-of-charge and must be booked at least two weeks in advance.

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    Please give us as much notice as possible to help secure your preferred date and time. Butler Gallery welcomes donations both online and on our tap-to-donate terminals within the gallery.

    * Please note that tours may not take place in particular areas of the gallery that may be in use for Engagement + Learning activities during your school's visit.

    To book a School Tour please contact Pauline Swaine, Visitor Services Manager on 056 776 1106 or by email at [email protected]

    More to Explore

    The O’Malley Collection

    The O’Malley Collection includes work from Tony O’Malley (1913 – 2003) and Jane O’Malley (b. 1944).

    Heritage & Archaeology

    Several archaeological digs were carried out from 2010 onwards as part of the Evans' Home refurbishment.

    Monastic Site

    The site of Butler Gallery has a long and diverse history spanning over 800 years.

    Art in Your Inbox

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    Clock Icon Opening Hours

    Monday: closed (except Bank Holidays when Sunday hours apply)
    Tuesday-Saturday:
    10.00–17.00
    Thursday: Late Night 10.00–20.00
    Sunday: 11.00–17.00
    Last admission is 30 mins before closing times