The Shees were a wealthy merchant family in Kilkenny in the sixteenth
century much like the Rothes who built Rothe House. In 1582, Sir Richard Shee
founded the alms house 'to accommodate twelve poor persons'.
Shee held the office of Deputy Treasurer of Ireland and received a knighthood
in 1582. He died in 1608. In 1752 the alms house was sold by Edmond Shee .
The Shees were dispossessed during the Cromwellian era
Shee family regained ownership of the house in 1756. The last record of any inmates
in the house date back to 1830. The Alms house was in 1978 acquired by Kilkenny
Corporation and restored to its original condition.
In 1981 it
was reopened as the present tourist office in the city. In 1986 the City Scope
project, a miniature scaled model of Kilkenny in the 16th century, opened on the
second floor of the building. It is one of the few remaining Tudor alms houses