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Festival Guide to Kilkenny

Kilkenny is home to some of the best and quirkiest festivals in the world. From the Subtitle Film Festival to mega music events, epic live performances at the Arts Festival to Economics, extraordinary stand up shows to Kilkenny Animated, the schedule just keeps getting better.

TradFest - Kilkenny's Traditional Irish Music festival

Come to Kilkenny for craic agus ceol at TradFest, the epicenter of St Patrick’s Day. The festival offers an incredible mix of live music performances from some of the country’s most influential and acclaimed musicians, as well as a series of workshops, masterclasses and parades, in what has become one of Ireland’s largest traditional music festivals.

It’s a four-day feast of both traditional and folk music, song and dance with concerts from Ireland’s top musicians, free open air music, family activities, céilís and much more in and around Kilkenny City.

Kilkenny Roots Festival

Kilkenny Roots Festival is a one of a kind event and now an international institution, having attracted some of the finest names in the Americana/Folk-Roots movement since its establishment in 1998.

Visitors wind their way through 30 plus venues, sampling a huge range of music from 40 Irish and international acts, with over 90 ticketed and free shows throughout Kilkenny’s medieval streets. From swing to bluegrass, rockabilly to folk, blues and beyond, the programme features a mixture of old and new, to cater to all tastes.

Savour Kilkenny

Now in its 13th year, Savour Kilkenny food festival is the ultimate celebration of food with a programme that embraces artisan producers and restaurateurs to food agencies and food farmers.

Savour Village is a food haven which features mouth watering culinary delights and tempting food stalls, celebrity chef appearances and demonstrations, workshops, competitions and unique dining events. For those who enjoy discovering new brands, new foods, and new ways of cooking, this is one culinary scene really worth savouring!

Don’t forget… Kilkenny was crowned the best Foodie Destination in Ireland for 2018 by the Restaurants Association of Ireland.


Kilkenomics is Europe’s first festival of economics and comedy, and if you’re a TED Talks fan, this will be right up your alley. The festival brings together notable economists, financial analysts and media commentators along with some of the world’s funniest and sharpest stand-up comedians to create informal yet entertaining formats, designed to engage and inform.

Thought provoking shows include topics covering everything from Brexit and Trump to entrepreneurs and AirBnB. The festival even features its own currency known as ‘the marble.


Yulefest is one of Ireland’s brightest Christmas festivals, featuring a jam packed schedule of events, attractions and entertainment in culture, art and all things festive.

Stroll down Kilkenny’s medieval streets, sipping hot chocolates and mulled wine whilst soaking in the lights and atmosphere. Or partake in one of the many active outdoor pursuits, like ice-staking and a lights show, before being entertained by various cultural and arts performances.

There are a number of magical Santa experiences throughout city and county, from Castlecomer to MacDonagh Junction Shopping Centre. The beauty of Yulefest is that it offers something for every age and quest, and is guaranteed to create memories to last a lifetime.

Subtitle Spotlight European Film Festival

For movie lovers and cinemagoers, Kilkenny’s Subtitle Spotlight European Film Festival is Ireland’s only film festival of popular subtitled European films. The festival features a fantastic line-up of filmmakers, casting directors, actors, and movies that have never been screened theatrically in Ireland.

From the provocative and smart to the funny and accessible, the Subtitle Film Festival brings together a feast of films bursting with talent, which will leave you seeing the big screen in a whole new light.

Kilkenny has developed an eclectic and diverse food and tourism offering which includes top quality gastro pub food, a wide range of Irish and international food offerings and even Michelin star restaurants. Enhanced food offerings include food trails, whiskey tasting nights, producer visits, cooking classes and distillery and brewery tours.

― Zack Gallagher