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The Kilkenny Arts Festival

Since its foundation in 1974, Kilkenny Arts Festival has gathered many of the world’s finest musicians, performers, writers and artists in Ireland’s medieval city each August. For ten days, this international festival celebrates Kilkenny's rich cultural identity with a packed programme of musical, contemporary arts, theatre and literature in what is a firm favourite on the artistic horizon.

For ten days, the city’s historic churches, castle, courtyards, townhouses and gardens offer a magical setting for unique collaborations and intimate encounters between audiences and artists

From the beginning, classical music has been at the core of the programme, featuring globally acclaimed artists such as Victoria de los Angeles, Alfred Brendel, Jordi Savall, Steven Isserlis, Dawn Upshaw, Nigel Kennedy and Joshua Bell among many others.

Poetry has also featured prominently since the early years in the 1970s. At this time, Seamus Heaney acted as literary curator and brought some of the world’s finest poets to Kilkenny, including Robert Lowell, Sorley Maclean, Kate Tempest, Robert Pinsky and former US Poet Laureate, Billy Collins.

Always surprising, innovative and refreshing, this is one not to be missed. Recent highlights have included readings by some of the finest actors in the Dunmore Caves, Shakespeare in the castle’s courtyard and classical delights in our stunning cathedrals and abbeys.

Kilkenny has witnessed the first ever Irish production of The Return of Ulysses, the world premier of Irish modern dance, a diverse musical programme ranging from Brahms masterpieces to jazz sofa sessions, as well as artistic partner, Stephen Ray, performing the poetic delight, ‘New York Time.’

Not forgetting the little ones, there are circuses, free craft workshops and festival fun on High Street.

The 46th year beckons!