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Archaeologists' find is of a rare vintage

The Irish love affair with good wine dates back a lot further than the Celtic Tiger years, a discovery at one of the country's most famous townhouses has revealed.

Meanwhile, the penchant for dyeing one's hair blonde is also anything but a recent development as the find also shows that people were engaging in this practice as far back as the 17th Century.

New archaeological research, compiled over the last six years, shows that residents at the 17th-century Rothe House in Kilkenny liked their Bordeaux wine and grew herbs which are widely used to dye hair blonde.

Glass from wine bottles and traces of the Lady's Bedstraw plant have been discovered as part of the archaeological dig which demonstrates things haven't changed so much in Ireland over the past 400 years.

The findings will be reviewed and on display for the first time as part of a day-long conference at Rothe House on Saturday, April 27.

Rothe House is of huge national significance as it is the most intact example of an early 17th Century merchant's townhouse in Ireland.

The event is a joint venture between Kilkenny Archaeological Society (KAS) and the Rothe House Trust (RHT) and one of a number of events planned as part of a €3.1m Renaissance Project, now under way, which involves a refurbishment and the installation of a new exhibition space at Rothe.

The conference is attracting wide interest, according to RHT director Colm Murray.

"We're hosting this conference to share recent summaries of knowledge on the interpretation of the house," he said.

"The conference is being held to ensure that recent extensive research is shared among society members and friends of Rothe House and a wider national and international audience."

Rothe House is open to the public as a museum.

Irish Independent