Dame Alice is back at Kyteler’s. Next time you are passing why not drop in and meet the life size bronze statue of our famed witch.
Created by Kilkenny sculptress Ani Mollereau
A new statue by a Kilkenny artist has been unveiled in the cities medieval Kytelers Inn. The statue depicts the venues infamous 13th century owner Dame Alice Kyteler who was forced to flee Ireland after being branded a witch and sentenced to burn at the stake. One of the most famed names in Irish folklore, her story is included in school history books.
Kyteler’s Inn is a thriving bar located at the heart of Kilkenny’s famed ‘Medieval Mile’ and its current owner commissioned local artist Ani Mollereau to produce a life size bronze statue for the building. One of the most famed names in Irish folklore, Dame Alice’s story is still included in school history books and her tale fits well with Failte Ireland’s new ‘Ancient East’ tourism initiative.
“Dame Alice is part of our heritage and her story fascinates visitors who come to Kyteler’s from all over the world” says owner Nicky Flynn (who is a great great granddaughter of Charles Dickens).
“The idea of bringing Alice back to Ireland and her home was an appealing idea. It means visitors can meet her, pose for pictures next to her and learn more about her story and extraordinary life”.
Nicky wanted her commission to be interpreted locally and local sculptress Ani Mollerau was the obvious choice, not least for her sensitivity to the brief. Ani observes “Each sculpture I create has its own story to tell or inspires the viewer to find theirs and Dame Alice is no exception. She was a beautiful woman unfairly branded a witch so I couldn’t depict her an old hag!”
Instead, the statue includes several subtle elements that allude to the story. A frog, always associated with witches is there as a symbol of transformation and change with its ability to live in two worlds of land or water. A cat (which is the Kyteler’s Inn logo) has power over illusion, which the artist says “reminds us to look within ourselves where we will always be shown the truth.”
And as a final element, a wart on Dame Alice’s nose is a symbol that this is a witch not to be messed with. The wart can also represent ones inability to repel an attack against your honour - as was the case with Alice. The commission was Ani Mollereau’s first full size piece and her work has been exhibited across Ireland on numerous occasions.
The statue of Dame Alice is located within the ancient stone walls of one of Kyteler’s many bars opposite a panel that explains her extraordinary story to visitors. The venue is famed for its live music, good food, traditional welcome and lively craic which has resulted in numerous tourism awards.
“It’s wonderful to have Dame Alice back in her rightful home and she and I look forward to welcoming visitors as they explore Kilkenny's Medieval Mile on Ireland's Ancient East and connect with the myth and legends that abound.” said Nicky Flynn.
Attending the unveiling on Wednesday 22nd April were the Mayor Andrew McGuinness, the Smithwick brothers, Judge Peter Smithwick and Paul Smithwick whose family have strong attachments to Kyteler's Inn and many local supporters of Kilkenny's Tourism and Arts Trades.