Yulefest - Kilkenny's Christmas festival - is launched

Yulefest - Kilkenny's Christmas festival - is launched
By Brian Keyes editor@kilkennypeople.ie @KeyesBrian

On the face of it, launching Kilkenny's Christmas time festival - Yulefest- on the eve of the hottest day of the year mid-Summer may have left a few scratching their heads.

White reindeer cut outs at the Castle - 'borrowed' from Castlecomer - would have perplexed the late evening sun worshippers.

Nevertheless, a packed Tower of the castle turned up to show their support for a venture that will surely put Kilkenny very much on the national - and hopefully international - festive map.

Speakers included Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council Matt Doran; Director of Services Mary Mulholland and Chairperson of the local organising committee, Ann Marie Freyne.

Yulefest, with its extremely catching logo, will be a countywide experience not just involving the retail and entertainment sector but local groups, charities and communities.

Cathaoirleach Doran revealed that the council will provide €100,000 in funding to help 'light up' six areas in the county - Kilkenny city, Castlecomer, Callan, Thomastown, Graignamanagh and Ferrybank.

So those areas - and traders in particular - need not worry any more about putting up their Christmas lights or financing same.

The Cathaoirleach said it was to ensure that Kilkenny became very much a destination for people at Christmas time, and that the seed funding provided would be a boost to the local economy.

he complimented the organising committee and those involved with Yulefest.

Director of Services Mary Mulholland revealled some key insights in to Yulefest. It now has a distinctive brand, with the slogan 'Once Upon A Time' which reflects Kilkenny's stunning heritage.

Ms Mulholand referred to the 'old World' feeling of Kilkenny the many quality events and community outings already held here.

The most significnant contrast to Kilkenny is just down the road - Waterford's Winterval festival which attracts 500,000 people to the city and brings in €14m in revenue.

It was also noted that it's not just about retail shopping but the entere experience with up to half a visitors spend on food and drink.

Irish people are the biggest Christmas spenders in Europe, with an average of €1k per person.

The local organising committee, chaired by Ann Marie Freyne., includes representatives from the Local Enterprise Office, Laoisn Tourism, Chamber and Kilkenny Coun ty Council.

The meeting concluded with Ann Marie Freyne ;launching a very passionate call to arms - with all of Kilkenny's festivities under the one brand of Yulefest the marketing potential is remarkable.

She also noted that she looked forward to the day that Kilkenny would be an international destination - just like Prague and Munich - for its annual Yulefest.

Further details will be announced, and already many businesses and event organisers have been contacted - there is an open invite for everyone to get involved.

And as the slogan says, along with judging on the enthusiasm of the gathering , Once Upon a Time Kilkenny launched a festival for the entire county over Christmas time... there is sure to be a happy ending.