Santa Claus in town just in time as Kilkenny's Yulefest gets under way

Christmas this year will be like no other, but together we can make it a good one


Robyn meets Santa

Santa Claus arrived into Kilkenny City to great excitement on Saturday as Yulefest officially got under way.

Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council Andrew McGuinness officially launched the festival at a special event in the Medieval Mile Museum, followed by the turning on of lights at the Parade. Yulefest this year will see a variety of events taking place in the city and county over the coming weeks — much of it virtual/online.

“Christmas this year will be like no other, but together we can make it a good one. We can look back on 2020 and be proud of our efforts and we can look forward with hope to brighter days in 2021,” said Cllr McGuinness.

“This year, Yulefest Kilkenny has a new approach. It will be a virtual Festival jam packed with entertainment.  It’s a challenging task to create virtual festivities but we are doing it and we will remain committed to the spirit of Christmas while keeping each other safe.

“There will be lots happening online at and social media channels so I would ask everyone to interact with us and you may even be lucky enough to win a prize.”

The Yulefest team has designed an innovative programme of events that will allow the public to celebrate Christmas safely.
Events include the annual Christmas markets, which will be taking place on the Parade and will operate in compliance with social distancing guidelines. St Canice’s Cathedral’s Christmas tree festival will take place online.

The famous reindeers return and will be seen around the city, while a socially-distanced Santa’s Christmas Village will be set up in the grounds of the Medieval Mile Museum.   Also, watch out for ‘Festival in a Van’ in the run up to Christmas supported by Creative Ireland.

The cathaoirleach stressed that it is particularly important this year to support local businesses who have made huge efforts in recent weeks and months to keep everyone safe with a wide range of initiatives. 

“In return we can support them online during what should be the busiest trading time of the year,” he said.

“They have been there for us, it is now our turn to be there for them. There is fantastic choice and quality across Kilkenny and I plead to people to get behind the ShopKilkenny initiative and we can give local business the Christmas boost that it deserves.

“I’m delighted to see Santa and his elves in attendance. I know it wasn’t easy for Santa to be here during his busiest period, having to travel from the North Pole and self isolate before joining us here safely today. Santa knows how important this Christmas is to our children and Covid wont stop him getting to every house on Christmas eve.”

Finally, Cllr McGuinness said it was not all about toys under the tree — it’s about smiles on faces and enjoying the company of loved ones and family.

“It is my pleasure to officially launch Yulefest Kilkenny and at the same time, to look forward to the return of Yulefest in 2021 - bigger and better than ever. Stay Safe, Stay Local and let’s continue to protect one another.”
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