Kilkenny newest festival, Science Week, gets under way this weekend

Fun and educational events, online scavenger hunt, opportunity to see inside National Reptile Zoo, and so much more


Dr Ken Farquhar, with his show ‘It’s all done with mirrors’

The county’s first ever Kilkenny Science Festival gets underway from this Saturday, November 7 to November 15 with lots of fun and educational events, including an online scavenger hunt, an opportunity to see inside the National Reptile Zoo and so much more.

The jam-packed schedule of events is designed as part of National Science Week and is funded by Science Foundation Ireland.

It’s one of 14 regional science festivals taking place across Ireland. The full comprehensive programme of events and details on booking can found at

In response to Covid-19, this year all events and workshops will be held online. It all kicks off with the Kilkenny Science Festival Family Fun STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Scavenger Hunt. It runs throughout Saturday, November 7 and Sunday, November 8.

“This is the perfect opportunity for all of the family to work together to take on other families in a hysterical science-themed scavenger hunt,” according to Dr Sheila Donegan, coordinator Kilkenny Science Festival.

“Family members will be required to work as a team, submitting photo and video evidence of how they completed their tasks, in order to be in with a chance to be crowned The Champion of Champions.

“The Kilkenny STEM scavenger hunt has been developed by South African based Steve Sherman. He has set up a series of fun, crazy and challenging tasks for your family to complete. The more tasks you complete and the more creative you are in the way you complete them, the more points you will earn.”

Following the scavenger hunt, a family fun day on Sunday, November 8 will bring science directly into every home with a series of creative, fun and experimental science workshops. Participants are invited to join the National Reptile Zoo as they take you on an in-depth guided tour. Learn about the science of Zip-Lining with the Castlecomer Discovery Park, learn how to make the best bubbles, experience the wonderful world of slime and much more.

Kilkenny library will be delivering flower bulbs to cocooning older people, with expert tips on how to look after the plants developed by Horticulture lecturer Yvonne Grace, Waterford Institute of Technology.

It takes science to win in modern sport. Learn about The Science of Elite sport with Bruce Wardop and Aubrey Storey, WIT who will show how science has helped athletes such as the Kilkenny Hurling team and Sam Bennet improve their performance.

A special all-female STEM event will be held on Tuesday, November 10, in partnership with local companies. The talk will showcase the huge range of opportunities available to girls in STEM and will feature women who work throughout the industry. The event is facilitated by award winning science communicator Dr Niamh Shaw.

“For many years, we have been running events in Kilkenny for Science Week. There has always been such a demand for events that this year we are delighted to have received funding for a special Kilkenny Science Festival,” said Dr Donegan.

“With the Covid pandemic, we have seen that science is now more important than ever.  With that in mind, we have designed a festival with events for everyone to get involved in. There is something for everyone."

Events will take place throughout the week, with special shows for primary and secondary schools. A key feature of the festival will be the TY Science quiz, where schools from across the county can compete against each other to win the first ever TY science quiz.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Kilkenny Council, to deliver this new science festival. Our STEM Engagement Centre, Calmast have developed an exciting programme, and Calmast continues to prove that science is fun and can be enjoyed by the whole family. So leave the Covid-19 lockdown behind by engaging in one or many of the fantastic events and workshops,” said Professor Willie Donnelly, President of Waterford Institute of Technology.

The full comprehensive programme of events and details on booking can be found at The festival is developed and livered by Calmast, WIT’s STEM engagement Centre, in partnership with Kilkenny Council, industry and other local groups.

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