Marble City Marvel: Kilkenny Arts Festival
From a sixth century monastic settlement to a modern culture hub, Ireland’s Marble City has a glittering passion for all things arts.
Kilkenny is one of the country’s most fascinating cities, with its rich history and fiercely individual sense of identity. This is where sports and culture reign supreme.
So at the dawn of the first Kilkenny Arts Festival in 1974, it was clear that the whole city would welcome the event with gusto. Every August the tradition continues and the city’s historic beauty acts as a spellbinding backdrop to performances by some of the world’s finest artists.
Classical music has always been a key feature and the festival has seen performances by Victoria de los Ángeles, Dawn Upshaw, Joshua Bell and many more global legends. Big names have also been present among the organisers, with Seamus Heaney curating an amazing line-up of literary stars in the 1970s, including Robert Lowell, Billy Collins and Kate Tempest.
At the dawn of the first Kilkenny Arts Festival in 1974, it was clear that the whole city would welcome the event with gusto.
This year there’s a lot to look forward to during the Kilkenny Arts Festival, running 11-20 August. Oscar-nominated actor Stephen Rea is performing Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis, a compelling talks programme will encompass poetry, politics and music, Mark and Marichka Marczyk are bringing their award-winning folk opera Counting Sheep to Ireland for the first time and a series of concerts will celebrate Schubert and Handel.
There’s also plenty to keep younger culture vultures occupied with a wide range of events for children in Yurt at the Yard. Niall de Búrca hosts storytelling workshops, Helena Byrne fuses fairy folklore with traditional songs and Liz Weir tells stories from around the world through raps and rhymes.
Kilkenny Arts Festival is a cornerstone in the county’s Creativity and Culture Plan 2017. Part of Creative Ireland’s five-year initiative to nurture the arts in the area, this year’s plan is full of programmes and events taking place across the whole of Kilkenny.