Kilkenny TradFest 2018 | Kilkenny Tourism

Kilkenny TradFest 2018


TradFest Kilkenny 2018

St Patrick's Weekend - begins Thursday 15th March

“What a Festival!

60 Free gigs at Kilkenny TradFest 2018”

A feast of traditional music, song & dance

The four-day feast of traditional music in the Marble City kicks off on Thursday 15th March with a very special event in Ryan’s Bar to honor Kilkenny’s music ‘ground-breaker’, the late Willie Meighan. Willie was, fittingly, honored by IMRO at their recent annual awards ceremony.

With a very impressive line-up of gigs, masterclasses, workshops and trad discos, Kilkenny TradFest, only 6 years in existence, is without doubt growing organically and is catering for all tastes, ages and pockets.   Thanks to Bulmers generous sponsorship of the festival, there are a host of fabulous free gigs in the city bars – 60 in total - highlights include great Irish groups like The Bonny Men and Notify performing in Paris Texas.

Kilkenny’s medieval architecture offers some of the most unique concert venues in Ireland.  Finbar Furey will play in the stunning St. Canice’s Cathedral while Mairtín O’Connor, Zoe Conway and Donal Lunny are holding masterclasses in Kilkenny Castle.  St. John’s Priory will be an intimate venue for Donegal’s wonderful Henry Girls who play two gigs over the weekend.

The former cinema now municipal theatre, the Watergate, will host Brian Kennedy, while the beautifully preserved 13th Century tavern Kyteler’s Inn will be hopping to the sounds of Caladh Nua and Scullion – both gigs are followed by a mid-night Trad disco – so revelers need to get their dancing shoes on!

At the yard of Kilkenny Castle, the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland are co-hosting a lovely event with uilleann piper and maker Mickey Dunne and the Kilkenny Pipers Club. This free event is all about how uilleann pipes are made and played and . has been organized as part of Kilkenny TradFest to celebrate the recent inclusion by UNESCO of Uilleann Piping on its Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Keeping it local and youthful, Kilkenny’s multi-instrumentalist, Jeremy Hickey will be hosting drumming and percussion workshops offering an enjoyable way to learn new skills and make some noise and this compliments the broad array of new young trad bands coming to the festival for the first time. Kilkenny TradFest have some of the most interesting new young trad acts in the country such as Jiggy, Moxie, Ye Vagabonds and The Remedy Club.

Also, on Friday 16 March, at 6:30pm, during the eclectic 2018 Kilkenny Tradfest, a panel moderated by History Ireland Editor, Tommy Graham, mulls over the complex relationship between history and archeology at a History Ireland Hedge School. The event, Neanderthals versus Homo sapiens? takes place at Kilkenny’s superb Medieval Mile Museum – the refurbished 13th century St Mary’s Church, recently transformed into one of the city’s main visitor attractions.

“The difference between history and archaeology is the difference between Neanderthal and Homo sapiens. The latter is more technologically advanced, and the former, although casually misunderstood, nevertheless boasts a bigger brain. Yet, it is hard to imagine one without the other.” This tongue-in-cheek observation is attributed to Bethany Dean, then an undergraduate archaeology student at the University of Winchester.

But what is the relationship between the two disciplines in developing our understanding of the past? How do
 they interact, if at all? To discuss these 
and related matters join History Ireland
editor, Tommy Graham, for a no-holds-barred discussion with medieval historians Sean Duffy (TCD, Atlas of Irish History), Matthew Stout (DCU, Early Medieval Ireland 431–1169), along with archaeologists Geraldine Stout (Newgrange and the Bend of the Boyne) and Christine Baker (Fingal Community Archaeologist).

History Ireland Hedge Schools are lively, unfettered debates presented on a wide range of international, national and local topics and provide a novel and interesting way to bring historical topics to life.

Book online at:  supported by Costello’s Brew Company.Tickets are €10 and €8 and include refreshments.


There is no doubt that the 2018 TradFest is packed full of unique affordable events!

Not to be missed. Tickets and information on


View the 2017 Photo Gallery -