Swarm of honeybees enjoys magificent concert in Kilkenny cathedral

Bees took up residence in the 13th Century cathedral, but did not disturb Mozart's Requiem

Kilkenny People


Kilkenny People




Conductor Thomas Kehoe leads the choir and orchestra during the performance of Mozart's Requiem

Kilkenny’s recently-adopted county insect was an unexpected guest of honour at St Canice’s Cathedral for a stunning performance of Mozart’s Requiem on Friday.

On certain occasions, the cathedral's front rows of pews would be reserved for dignitaries and chapter/clergy, but the distinguished visitors on this occasion were a swarm of honeybees which had taken up residence in the 13th Century cathedral.

The bees, which temporarily had made their home in the 300-year-old Canadian timber ceiling, did not harm anyone nor did they cause any nuisance during the performance. However, people with an allergy to bee stings were advised to keep their distance.  

A sign warns people to steer clear of the bees at the concert in St Canice's Cathedral

Kilkenny Choir’s performance of the famous Requiem, with its electrifying Lacrimosa, was certainly one for the ages. It was the fourth occasion of its performance in Kilkenny in living memory — the first taking place in St Mary’s Cathedral 89 years ago, in April 1930.

There was not a spare seat to be found this time. Soprano Roisin O’ Grady, no stranger to Kilkenny music lovers, opened proceedings, and the choir and orchestra rose magnificently to the task, under the guidance of conductor Thomas Kehoe.

There was a special acknowledgment for the late Jack Cuddihy and Anna Crotty, longstanding choir members who passed away earlier this year. They would have been proud.

The standing ovation was well deserved. The only note of disgruntlement heard on the evening was that the Kilkenny Choir will now take its summer break, with no further performances to look forward to until the latter end of the year.