Green eyed cats will be out in force this St Patrick’s weekend with a hooley to beat all hooleys as the first every Kilkenny Tradfest gets into full swing! This will be the biggest St Patrick’s Party ever in Kilkenny, with the city turning green to celebrate our national day.
This year’s celebrations have a truly international flavour, with Kilkenny playing host to Ambassadors and Representatives from no less than 6 countries – Australia, The Netherlands, Nigeria, Romania and Russia and the US as well as visiting Mayor Kevin Taaffe of Kilkenny, Minnesota, and Mayor Patrick Septiers from twin city of Moret sur Loing, France.
Kick-starting the festivities on Fri at 4pm are the renowned All American Purdue University Marching Band from Indiana, USA, who arrive with 266 instruments and one 91-year-old Big Bass drum. Performing at the Parade Plaza at 4.30pm and continuing into the grounds of Kilkenny Castle, they will regale audiences with music ranging from traditional school songs to the latest radio hits. The Purdue University marching band entourage totals 507 people alone, including 324 performers. Hot on their heels are the Colorado State University Marching Band, playing at Kilkenny Castle on Sat 15 at 11.45am with over 220 performers.
Totalling over 700 Americans in town, now that’s a Gathering!
Kilkenny TradFest will provide a major boost to the local economy with thousands of visitors from home and abroad expected for some of the best live traditional music, song and dance led by some of Ireland’s best known musicians.
The centrepiece of the weekend will be the St Patrick’s Parade on March 17 which will feature a wealth of colourful floats from our local community. The Parade starts from St. John’s Church at 2pm and will last for two hours. Kilkenny hurling star Eoin Larkin will Grand Marshall this St. Patrick’s Day parade. The hurling star says “‘I am honoured to be asked to led our city’s great parade. I know the committee have being working hard to make this weekend bigger and better, especially with the introduction of the first ever TradFest, three mayors, and all our American visitors, the weekend will pack out the city,” he said.
TradFest will feature rising stars Beoga and Electric Céilí as well as Téada, who are joined by the legendary Séamus Begley at Kilkenny Castle. St Patrick’s night will see a very special gig at the Set Theatre featuring Kilkenny resident Iarla Ó Lionaird who will appear with his friends, the world renowned Clare fiddle player Martin 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, as well as Céilí Mór taking place in the Springhill on Saturday and Newpark Hotel on Sunday. 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 Taaffe and his wife brought to the city by ace photographer Eoin Hennessy.
Kilkenny is also preparing for a French invasion over St Patrick’s weekend with a delegation from its twin city, Moret sur Loing. It has been confirmed that the Mayor of Moret sur Loing will announce during the visit the naming of a square after Kilkenny in the charming French medieval town as part of moves to strengthen ties between the two cities.