Kilkenny TradFest to beat all hooleys over St Patrick’s weekend

The grounds of Kilkenny Castle in the city will be transformed into Ireland’s biggest traditional music venue when the inaugural Kilkenny TradFest 2013 gets into full swing this St. Patrick’s weekend, (March 16 and 17).

The grounds of Kilkenny Castle in the city will be transformed into Ireland’s biggest traditional music venue when the inaugural Kilkenny TradFest 2013 gets into full swing this St. Patrick’s weekend, (March 16 and 17).

Details of the newest festival on the calendar in the medieval city were announced yesterday. This brings to nine festivals in Kilkenny city alone this year, providing a major boost to the local economy.

Thousands of people will descend on the marble city to enjoy a hooley to beat all hooleys with some of the best live traditional music, song and dance led by some of Ireland’s best known musicians. These include rising stars Beoga, Téada, including the legendary Séamus Begley along with a very special gig featuring Kilkenny resident Iarla Ó Lionaird who will appear with his friends, the world renowned Clare fiddle playerMartin Hayes and the acclaimed American guitarist Dennis Cahill.

While much of the action will be in Kilkenny Castle Park and in the historic Norman castle itself, local pubs and restaurants will also be getting into the spirit of things with music on the menus as part of a lively Trad Trail.

Visitors will also get the opportunity to meet and learn from masters of traditional music. There will be seannós singing workshops with last year’s TG4 Singer of the Year, Nell Ní Chroinín and sean-nós dancing with Ger Butler, uilleann pipes and flute masterclasses with master piper Harry Bradley, fiddle classes with Anthony McCauley, and free set dancing workshops on the streets of Kilkenny. TradFest 2013 will also incorporate the annual Kilkenny St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

There will be two Mayors of Kilkenny featuring as guests of honour at the St Patrick’s Day parade! As well as Kilkenny’s own Mayor Seán Ó hArgáin there will be Mayor of the City of Kilkenny in Minnesota, USA, Kevin Taffe and his wife.

According to Mayor Ó hArgáin, Kilkenny is the festival pulse of Ireland. “The nine festivals in Kilkenny City is year will be hugely important for the local economy, helping to sustain and grow jobs with every shop, hotel, restaurant and pub benefitting.”

“TradFest is keeping Kilkenny on the cultural map and will get the city rocking and warmed up for the visit of Bruce Springsteen in July. He is a well-known lover of Irish traditional music. We have an astonishing year coming up with the 40th anniversary of Kilkenny Arts Festival, along with yet more great offerings form Rhythm and Roots, Cat Laughs, Kilkenomics and Savour Kilkenny. We have really become Ireland’sFestival City and the place to be on almost every major weekend

According to TradFest manager, Marian Flannery, this St Patrick’s weekend ‘hooley’ will bring to nine the number of festivals being staged in the marble city in 2013.

“We are delighted to be launching Kilkenny TradFest 2013 as a Gathering event to reflect the cultural city that Kilkenny is. There is something for everyone at Kilkenny TradFest, with a fantastic line up of national and local talent. There will be a total of 45 performances and workshops over the weekend with FREE admission into 80% of these events. We are thrilled to be able to host most of our free entertainment in the spectacular setting of Kilkenny Castle and we know that such a venue will add to the quality of this experience for all our audience, local, national and international. We are delighted to be working with the OPW to host these events.”

Amanda Horan of Fáilte Ireland said the new festival is one of Kilkenny’s flagship events for ‘The Gathering’, and it is hoped it will become another annual event to add to Kilkenny’s already rich festival tapestry.

Kilkenny TradFest 2013 highlights will include :

• Renowned Irish traditional music groups live on stage in the Castle Park, TÉADA Beoga. Electric Céilí as well as local groups.

• A Ceilí Mór on each night.

• A TradTrail of traditional music throughout Kilkenny’s bars and restaurants.

• Concert with Martin Hayes, Dennis Cahill and Iarla Ó Lionaird.

• Lots of family fun at the colourful community parade on St. Patricks.

Committee Chairperson Malcolm Noonan says “The city promises to be greener than ever this year, with the assistance of the Kilkenny Borough Council, window boxes and hanging baskets will be in full bloom of green white and gold! Businesses will also be competing for the ‘best dressed TradFest window’ and shop assistances will be digging out the green clothing in an effort to support the local ENABLE Ireland centre. The ‘Go Green for the O’Neill Centre’, is a new project for this very worthy cause and we are delighted to help them in their fundraising efforts. We are appealing to all Kilkenny businesses and organisations to sign up and ‘Go Green for the O’Neill Centre’ this St Patricks weekend.”

TradFest chairperson, Malcolm Noonan concluded: “We are appealing to visitors to get into the spirit of the weekend and to take part in the “Happy Feet Gathering” which will be great craic. This will be held from 3p.m. in the grounds of Kilkenny Castle on Sunday March 17th after the parade to the sound of great music from TÉADA. All people have to do is turn up, put on their set dancing shoes, and get tapping! We might even break a world record while we are at it!”