Built by prosperous merchant John Rothe in 1594, the building was soon enlarged to accomodate his family of 12 children.

Second and third houses were built around cobbled courtyards and a well dating to 1604. The façade houses shops, one of them was John Rothe's own emporium.

The second generation and their families shared facilities like the well and the brewhouse. The house would have been very comfortably furnished by the standards of the day.

The Kilkenny Archaeological Society bought and restored the house. Within the house are various exhibitions from folk to costume and accessories.

The Society Library and the County Genealogical Research Service for Kilkenny is located at Rothe House.