The Edmund Rice Homestead, birthplace of Blessed Edmund Rice, founder of the Christian Brothers and Presentation Brothers, was born to Robert and Margaret Rice, prosperous tenant farmers, at Westcourt, Callan, County Kilkenny, on 1 June 1762.
He was the fourth of seven brothers, and had two stepsisters, Joan and Jane Murphy, from his mother’s first marriage. The Penal Laws against Catholics were still in force in Ireland. County Kilkenny fared better than many places during these times because of the tolerance of John Butler, the Protestant Duke of Ormonde who resided in Kilkenny Castle.
As a result, enterprising Catholics, such as Robert Rice, were enabled to rent farmland from tolerant Protestant landlords at reasonable rates. So Edmund was fortunate that, in a land where the majority of Catholics were “hewers of wood and drawers of water”, he was afforded a good education.
The Edmund Rice Memorial Chapel and a large visitor centre is open to visit. Access to the cottage is via the office at the adjacent centre and monastery.
- Visit the traditional thatched farmhouse, birthplace of Blessed Edmund Rice.
- View some personal effects of Blessed Rice on display in the cottage.
- See the room where Blessed Edmund Rice was born.
- Explore the well-kept garden around the cottage.
- Receive a warm welcome from the Christian Brothers who oversee the homestead, adjoining visitor centre, and chapel.