Renowned Kilkenny choir set to sing for Pope's visit to Ireland

'We’re very honoured to be singing for His Holiness'

Sam Matthews


Sam Matthews


Kilkenny choir

Kilkenny choir, Arís, performing in front of Kilkenny Castle. The choir is involved on two occasions during the upcoming Papal visit

One of Kilkenny’s most highly-regarded choirs will be involved in two choral performances during the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland next week.

Arís, under the musical direction of Veronica McCarron, will perform at both the concert for the Pope and the Papal Mass.

The Pope will arrive in Dublin on Saturday, August 25, and Arís will perform with several other choirs at concert for him that day.

Pope Francis

Then, on Sunday, the Papal Mass takes place, with the Pope its chief celebrant. Arís will perform on their own while the congregation is gathering, singing four or five pieces from their album, ahead of the Mass which is due to begin at 3pm.

“We’re very honoured to be singing for His Holiness,” Ms McCarron told the Kilkenny People.

“We’ll be singing for half a million people.”

The local choir are fresh from performing for the crowds at the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games at the National Aquatic Centre in Dublin at on Monday.

Choral director Veronica McCarron

Arís was borne out of Ms McCarron’s 25 years at Kilkenny’s Presentation Secondary School (during which the choir won much acclaim and even appeared on Britain’s Got Talent.

After she left the school, she set up a group involving various students she had taught over her time there. The group now has between 40 and 50 members.

Allianz came on board as sponsors, and this partnership has helped to open some doors. The company sponsored an album, which was recorded in Paris, with strings recorded in Prague, and then mastered in London.

Plans are afoot to officially launch the new album, ‘Arís: This is Us’ in September. The choir’s musical director is Ollie Hennessy from Carlow, who is also musical director at RTE.

Ms McCarron, who now lives in Donegal, has also set up a new group called Choir of Ages, which sees children aged 7-12, and adults aged 65-92, all performing together. The project was set up as part of the Donegal Age Friendly Programme to promote social inclusion.

Ms McCarron also continues to provide choral workshops around the country.