The Majesty of Kilkenny Arts Festival 2023

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Kilkenny Arts Festival 2023

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There’s a certain kind of magic that permeates the air every August in Ireland’s medieval city of Kilkenny. For a full ten days, the historic nooks and crannies of this vibrant locale transform into intimate stages, showcasing some of the world’s most renowned artists. This magic is none other than the Kilkenny Arts Festival.

TypeDate & TimeVenueEvent
Art Exhibition3 — 25 August 2023KCAT Arts Centre, Mill Lane, Callan, Co. Kilkenny, R95 XN35The Dance of Life
Art Exhibition10 — 13 August 2023Kilkenny CastleLight Up the Castle: In Good Hands
Music Performance10 August 2023St Canice’s CathedralOumou Sangaré
Theatre10 — 11 August 2023Starting point: Bus stop opposite Kieran’s CollegeTaken for a Ride
Theatre10 – 12 & 14- 19 AugustSheridan’s, Ennisnag, Co. Kilkenny R95 YT93The Local
Theatre10 – 12 & 14- 19 AugustThe Ormonde Hotel, Ormonde Street, KilkennyThe Local Bus
Art Exhibition11 August 2023Rothe HouseReturning to the Earth / Ag Filleadh ar an Talamh
Art Exhibition11 — 20 August 2023The Ormonde Cleaners, High StreetUnfold
Music Performance11 August 2023St Canice’s CathedralICO Phil Selway with Irish Chamber Orchestra
Music Performance11 August 2023St John’s PrioryCamerata Kilkenny: Programme I; Bach, Purcell & Clérambault
Music Performance11 August 2023Set TheatreDónal Dineen’s Backstory
Discussion11 August 2023Parade TowerLiz Nugent & Úna Mannion: In Conversation
Dance11 — 12 August 2023Watergate TheatreJohn Scott’s Migration Sonata
Art Exhibition11 — 20 August 2023Festival Gallery, St Kieran’s College, via New StreetDeirdre Frost: Big Crush
Art Exhibition12 August — 28 October 2023National Design & Craft Gallery, KilkennyMade in Kilkenny/Made Local
Art Exhibition12 August — 8 October 2023Butler Gallery, Evans’ HomeThe Art of Sport
Music Performance12 August 2023St Canice’s CathedralCormac Begley & Friends
Music Performance12 August 2023St John’s PrioryCamerata Kilkenny: Programme II; Bach, Purcell, Couperin & Franz Biber
Music Performance12 August 2023Smithwick’s Barrel YardRollercoaster Back2Back DJs
Music Performance12 August 2023Lyrath Estate HotelSecret Garden Music at Lyrath Estate Hotel
Discussion12 August 2023Parade TowerDeirdre Frost: In conversation with Cristín Leach
Music Performance13 August 2023Set TheatreIarla Ó Lionáird, Cormac McCarthy & Matthew Berrill
Music Performance13 August 2023Mount JulietSecret Garden Music at Mount Juliet
Music Performance13 August 2023St John’s PrioryCarducci String Quartet: Programme 1: Haydn & Beethoven
Discussion13 August 2023Parade TowerThe Hubert Butler Essay Prize 2023
Music Performance13 August 2023Parade TowerFergus Cronin with Kevin Doherty: Night Music
Music Performance14 August 2023St Canice’s CathedralBarry Douglas: Schubert & Liszt
Music Performance14 August 2023Watergate TheatreMartin Hayes & Kate Ellis
Music Performance14 August 2023Cleere’s TheatreDave Holland: Wicked Little Atoms in the Fragments of the Long Waves
Music Performance14 August 2023St John’s PrioryCarducci String Quartet: Programme II; Mendelssohn & Haydn
Poetry Reading14 August 2023Parade TowerHeaney Translations: Vona Groarke with Olivia O’Leary
Theatre14 & 15 August 2023St.Kieran’s CollegeA New Topography of Love: Dumbworld
Theatre14 & 15 August 2023St.Kieran’s College (via New Street) – meet at The Festival GalleryScorched Earth Trilogy: Dumbworld and Irish National Opera
Music Performance14 — 15 August 2023Cleere’s TheatreDave Holland RCS
Music Performance15 August 2023St Canice’s CathedralChamber Choir Ireland: In Paradisum; Pärt, Clarke & Shaw
Music Performance15 August 2023St John’s PrioryCarducci String Quartet: Programme III; Clarke, Shaw & Dvořák
Music Performance15 August 2023Set TheatreKatie Kim & Elaine Howley
Discussion15 August 2023Parade TowerThe Art of Sport – Artist Panel Discussion
Music Performance15 — 17 August 2023Various VenuesEncounters
Music Performance16 August 2023St Canice’s CathedralSweeney: RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Iarla Ó Lionáird & Ciarán Hinds
Music Performance16 August 2023St John’s PrioryCarducci String Quartet: Programme IV; Glass, Ravel & Piazzolla
Music Performance16 August 2023Watergate TheatreCrash Ensemble with Diamanda La Berge Dramm & Sam Amidon
Music Performance16 August 2023Parade TowerHeaney Translations: Mary Clayton with Olivia O’Leary
Dance16 — 17 August 2023Barnstorm Studio at The Home Rule ClubAoife Ní Bhriain & Colin Dunne: Open Rehearsals
Music Performance17 August 2023

Founded in 1974, the Kilkenny Arts Festival has since been a beacon of cultural excellence, inviting a plethora of exceptional musicians, writers, artists, and performers. Whether it’s the resonating sounds of classical music from St Canice’s Cathedral, the vivid colors of art exhibitions in the courtyards, or the mesmerizing performances in the townhouses, every corner of Kilkenny buzzes with life and artistry.

From the eloquent words of the late Eavan Boland to the violin strokes of Martin Hayes, the festival has been graced with global talents, effortlessly blending tradition with contemporary flair. Not just a celebration of art, the festival has also been a platform for discourse, with the Hubert Butler Lecture series inviting renowned thinkers and critics to shed light on the pressing issues of our times.

Beyond the arts, Kilkenny itself stands as a jewel of Ireland. From its enchanting medieval architecture to its contemporary designs, the city is a treat for every visitor. With irresistible restaurants, quaint bars, and a plethora of shopping options, Kilkenny becomes more than just a festival venue; it becomes an experience.

As you journey through this article, you’ll find a glimpse of what awaits you at the Kilkenny Arts Festival. From the haunting melodies of Lixsania Fernández to the moving poetry readings at Parade Tower, there’s an art form for every enthusiast. And as the city readies itself for another year of artistic splendor, one thing is certain: the Kilkenny Arts Festival remains a testament to Ireland’s rich cultural tapestry, blending the old with the new, and tradition with innovation.

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