Based in the medieval city of Kilkenny, the craft capital of Ireland, Kilkenny Design Centre is part of Kilkenny’s Castle Yard, built in the 1780s by the Butlers, Earls of Ormonde, as the coach houses and stables of historic Kilkenny Castle.
The Castle Yard is also home to the National Craft Gallery, one of Ireland’s most exciting artistic venues. Nearby is Butler House and Gardens, a unique guesthouse that was once the Butlers’ Dowager House.
The historically significant Kilkenny Design Workshops were also established in the Castle Yard in the 1960s. Staffed by bright, young international designers, craftspeople, design graduates and apprentices, the workshops’ remit was to improve design and manufacturing standards in Ireland, which they achieved through their creative output right up until closure in 1988.
The government-funded design research and development centre of excellence revolutionised Irish Design with lasting impact.
For more information on Kilkenny’s design legacy download the magnificent app. The story of KDW is recalled with interactive elements; audio clips from KDW alumni, photographs from the era, rich archival film footage and family documents; some of which have just been made public for the first time.