We all need to do our bit to keep Kilkenny as the capital of festivals
Kilkenny is famous the world over for its friendly welcome and is now becoming known as the festival capital of Ireland.
It is easy to see why - there are festivals happening throughout the year with even more festivals planned for the near future. As well as the myriad of festivals that exist there are plans to create a new animation event - apt for a city that is most definitely one of animation hotspots of Europe.
Kilkenny's newest festival, Bookville — an event for families and children — will take place from October 11 to 15.
Festivals are unique in that they bring tourists, visitors and natives together to enjoy a shared love of food or the arts. This culture brings a vibrancy to the city and encourages even more people to come and explore all that Kilkenny has to offer.
It also enhances the rich cultural tapestry of the city and county. Many places are famous for a festival but few can claim to be famous for a host of them running throughout the year.
Historically, one of the most popular festivals was the Kilkenny Beer Festival. One of the city's newest festivals the Kilkenny Craft Festival is resurrecting the concept of the beer festival and it is growing from strength to strength. It is an intimate festival which takes place from July 5 to 8.
Another serious success story on the festival circuit is Kilknomics — Europe's first economics festival which has been running for the past seven years and has been lauded internationally for its unique format which brings together some of the world's leading economists, financial analysts and media commentators.
Other firm favourites include the Cat Laughs Comedy Festival, the Kilkenny Roots Festival and of course Kilkenny Arts Festival.
The Kilkenny Arts Festival celebrated their programme launch on a balmy evening at the Pembroke Hotel. The Kilkenny Arts Festival is one of the most popular festivals in the country and it is easy to see why. It continuously improves and expands and this year sees its biggest programme to date. The line up is innovative and exciting and this is why people travel from all corners of the world for these ten days in August. This year the programme includes the Irish premiere of Counting Sheep which was an award-winning hit at last year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival and is described as “a breathtaking guerilla folk opera”. When it comes to Kilkenny it is not only is it the quantity of the festivals that we have on offer but also the quality.
When people talk about Kilkenny they speak of the atmosphere and ambiance. It is difficult to describe exactly what the lure of this Faire City is but its constantly evolving culture is most definitely an important part of it.
The arts in all its various guises helps us to express and understand what makes us tick. This coupled with an outstanding Savour Food Festival which showcases both our local producers and award winning restaurants cements our growing reputation as a festival capital.
We all have our role to play in this - we need to be ambassadors for our city and county and support the trojan work that goes on behind the scenes to create and maintain these festivals.
These festivals are the life blood that creates the unique culture and vibrancy that Kilkenny is renowned for and also are the social glue that helps our community to knit together.
We have a lot to be proud of.