Grab the boots: Gowran gets set for goin' country

Mike Denver, Declan Nurney, Clíona Hagan, Philomena Begley and more are part of star-studded lineup

Sam Matthews


Sam Matthews


Gowran Country Music Festival

Michael Carey, Ted Drea, Grace O'Donnell and Steffi Fitzgerald during the launch of the Kilkenny Country Music Festival at Gowran Park Racecourse PICTURE: PAT MOORE

Crowds of country music fans will be flocking to Gowran next Sunday for a unique festival set in the grounds of one of the country’s most loved racecourse.

The family-oriented festival kicks off in Gowran Park on Sunday, August 20, at 1pm. A host of stars including Mike Denver, Declan Nurney, Clíona Hagan, Philomena Begley and Patrick Feeney are all part of the lineup, with a total of 13 acts set to take to the stage throughout the day.

Connemara kid Matthew O’ Donnell will open the show, while the headliner will be Entertainer of the Year Mike Denver. One of Ireland’s top entertainers, Denver this year celebrated 13 years in the entertainment scene. He will close the festival, finishing his set at 7pm.

The full gamut of Gowran Park’s first-class offering will be available, including the rooftop restaurant, clubhouse bar, drinks, fast food, sandwiches, three outdoor stands and a huge dancefloor.

A shuttle bus will run from Kilkenny Castle on the day, ferrying people back and forth. The first bus is at 11.30am, and leaves the castle every hour for €8 return.

Festival committee member Karina Langton says there has been a huge voluntary effort to stage the show — all of which is with good reason. It will help raise funds for Young Irelands GAA Club, which made a decision six years ago to relocate.

The club’s new location is in the heart of the village, beside the national school, across from the parish church. It provides the club with a platform to cater for the growing local population.

With two new full-size playing pitches, a walking track, clubhouse, and further plans to provide more facilities, Gowran will have a modern sports and recreation outlet for all comers.

The playing pitches are already operational, while club rooms are now almost complete, and the drive to find funding continues.

“We have our DJ (Carey) and our very own Carter (Charlie — not Nathan), but Mike Denver and co are coming for Kilkenny’s hottest show,” says Karina Langton.

So, it’s time to go country — grab a stetson and your boots, and head on down to Gowran Park next Sunday.

Tickets for the festival are on sale now. They cost €25 each and are available from Hennessys Shop in Gowran or Gowran Pharmacy, Porter’s Newsagents, Rollercoaster Records, or online at