From sofa sessions, to classic to country music — Kilkenny has it all this weekend

Sunday sees the Kilkenny Country Music Festival go ahead at Gowran Park racecourse

Up Close and Personal


Up Close and Personal


Country Music

Kilkenny Country Music Festival takes place on Sunday. Pictured at the launch were Grace O'Donnell and Steffi Fitzgerald PICTURE: PAT MOORE

Music fans in Kilkenny can go from the Sofa Sessions to Schubert with a secret garden trail too!

As the Kilkenny Arts Festival andAlternative Kilkenny Arts fringe festival continue to Sunday, they’ll also be joined by the Historical Harp Society of Ireland’s four early-evening concerts and the start of the nation-wide Heritage Week. And that’s on top of the usual feast.

There’s something for all tastes every day so let’s look at some of the highlights:

On Thursday the Historical Harp Society of Ireland begins its run of concerts which each start at 5:30pm at Coláiste Pobail Osraí. The opening act is Simon Chadwick, who will feature Gaelic music from the Hebrides.

Billy Byrne’s Bar presents another Sofa Sessions, a night of free music in hugely comfortable surrounds. Cormac Larkin’s Rural Electrification Scheme will entertain from 9pm with the Kilkenny-based drummer joined by a quartet of Dublin musicians playing late sixties Miles Davis, Weather Report & so on.

While at the same time Cleere’s Bar and Theatre offer up Mayo musician, singer songwriter Seamus Fogarty.

Friday’s fun includes with the Historical Harp Society of Ireland’s next event, this time with Ann Heymann meandering through virtuosic harp variation sets with Eibhlís Ní Riordáin guest singing. That’s from 5:30pm.

If you fancy showcasing your own talents then Moira’s Open Night might be just the thing. The monthly session takes place at the Home Rule Club bar.

Saturday has music and more from 5pm at Brewery Corner. The event, Vinyl Valkyries, is hosted by Kilkenny For Choice with the ARC’s official roadshow providing a night with live bands, DJs & comedy acts.

The Historical Harp Society’s of Ireland’s 5:50pm concert features Siobhán Armstrong’s collaboration with singer Eamonn O Bróithe sees them focus on reconstructing seventeenth & eighteenth century harpers’ love songs & vocal laments.

Callan hotspot Fennelly’s has another Courtyard Gig with Mongoose. The songwriting foursome showcase their talents from 8pm.

While at the same time Meath indie rock band Hamsandwich continues the outdoors fun at Ballykeeffe Amphitheatre.

Danny Burke plays the Home Rule Club bar.

And in Slieverue, music’s by Dermot & Irene King at the Rhu Glenn Hotel with doors open from 9pm.

Sunday sees the Kilkenny Country Music Festival go ahead at Gowran Park racecourse from 1 to 7pm. Entertaining across that time are Mike Denver, Declan Nerney, Patrick Feeney, Mick Flavin Trudi Lalor, Adrian Ryan, Philomena Begley, Cliona Hagan, Aidan Quinn, Keelan, Honky Tonk Angels, Paddy O’Brien, Matthew O’Donnell & TheConquerors who will be the backing band for the day. This event is in support of Young Ireland’s GAA and tickets cost €25 from a number of Gowran outlets & in Kilkenny City from Porter’s newsagents & Rollercoaster Records.

Church Hill Silver Band will entertain at Kilkenny Castle from 2:45pm and all are welcome onto the grounds for that.

The Battle of the Bands has its first of its trio of heats at Brewery Corner from 5pm. Pitched at those aged in their late teens, the finals will reveal a winning of a recording session with Broderick’s Studio.

While the last of the Historical Harp Society of Ireland has the last of four concerts from 5:30pm. This time around James Ruff makes his Irish debut to play a copy of the eighteenth-century Mullaghmast harp.