It’s nearly 40 years since a young, tousle-haired poet took to the stage in the back room of Kyteler’s Inn for a reading at the very first Kilkenny Arts Festival. The poet was virtually unknown, but he held the audience spellbound, and our artists have been doing just that ever since.
Every summer, Ireland’s oldest festival draws over 20,000 visitors to the city with its mix of poets and performers, sopranos and sculptors, Krautrock and craftwork, workshops and walks. Our dedicated team of curators scour the land, and far beyond, to bring you world premieres, one-off collaborations and breathtaking shows you’ll never see again, here or anywhere else. We’ve showcased some big names over the years – like theatre director Peter Brook, writer Garrison Keillor, or Turner Prize-winner Susan Philipsz – but we’ve also nurtured home-grown talent, formed our own choir, and helped to launch the stars of tomorrow. From film screenings in St Canice’s to flautists in the Hole in the Wall, there’s no city like Kilkenny, and no festival like the Kilkenny Arts Festival.
We can’t do it alone. As a non-profit organisation, we depend every year on your help, whether from the countless volunteers who donate their time and energy to keeping the festival on track, or from our partners, sponsors and – especially – our friends. It’s your generosity that enables us to bridge the gap between government funding, sponsorship and box office sales, and deliver a world-class festival.
So why not be part of our team? Sign up today and help us to keep doing what we do best: bringing the brightest talent to Kilkenny, from the biggest international names to the next generation of stars.
Oh, and the poet, reading at the back of Kyteler’s Inn back in 1974? It was Seamus Heaney.