On the trail of seanfhocail: Muireann Ni Ghradaigh and Elsa PICTURE: VICKY COMERFORD
After months of preparation, the virtual St Patrick’s Day celebrations gets under way. The people of the city and county and Kilkenny’s diaspora are set to celebrate the national holiday online, and look forward ‘le Dóchas’ to a much better year ahead.
All the events of the day and evening will take place online at stpatricksfestivalkilkenny.com beginning at 11.30am tomorrow morning —and running right through to 9pm. The day will be packed with music, arts activities, storytelling, animation, singing and environmental activities as the programme which has been in production for months swings into action.
Those out and about in the city and county will see the physical signs of the festival with a trail of seanfhocail - the best of Irish language sayings on display on the pavements of our streets and in the Market Yard while at night, more landmark buildings than ever before have been lit up in green. MC for the day is Evanne Ní Chuilinn, proud Kilkenny citizen and RTÉ Sports presenter.
Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council Andrew McGuinness says the reaction to the call-out for community groups, schools and family groups, at home and abroad, had been phenomenal.
“We have had over a hundred videos submitted to us, showing how we’ve become a city and county of film makers during lockdown and they contain a great display of the fun, creativity and spirit of Kilkenny,” he said.
“We will also have clips from parades gone by, so you may see yourself marching or playing in a brass or pipe band, on a float or just simply watching the proceedings pass by.”
The quality of music and singing on view will be second to none. National stars Seo Linn, Kíla, Luan Parle, Jeremy Hickey (RSAG) and Nell Ní Chróínín will be joined by emerging family star group, Burnchurch and many other local groups and choirs.
The musical programme began last night and will culminate tonight (Wednesday) with an impressive line-up of traditional music acts from around the country. Local talent, including the Lady Desart Choir, the Music Generation programme for young people and sean-nós dancer Nicholas Dunphy will showcase the best of what is on offer.
The highlight will be a specially-commissioned concert featuring traditional and contemporary supergroup Kila who will provide a unique one-hour live performance in collaboration with Cartoon Saloon, with scenes from the multi-award winning and Oscar-nominated Wolfwalkers movie and images from Kilkenny City.
Chief Executive of Kilkenny County Council Colette Byrne said the council is delighted with the line-up, principally funded by the local authority.
“We are delighted that our community’s ongoing work in protecting and enhancing our environment is at the forefront of the programme,” she said.
"We are delighted that our community’s ongoing work in protecting and enhancing our environment is at the forefront of the programme. The innovation shown by Dr Tara Shine, a proud citizen of Kilkenny City, in leading the education of young people in adapting to climate change, will be showcased on Wednesday morning, along with a wonderful highlights package showing the truly innovative work being done through the Nore Vision project. It is vital that as well as celebrating our historical achievements, that we showcase the on-going work to protect our built and natural heritage.
"It is also fitting that we showcase Kilkenny to the country and the wider world as we prepare for brighter times ahead, when our society and economy will reopen to welcome back visitors and investors in what is a hugely exciting time in our development with the emergence of the exciting new Abbey Quarter in Kilkenny City, mirrored by the equally exciting developments at Belview Port and the North Quays project in the south of the county."
Festival chairperson, Cllr Joe Malone, said the atmosphere of celebration will be crucial to the day’s events.
"We are extremely aware of those who have lost loved ones and friends in the challenging year gone by but we will rightly celebrate the trojan efforts of our frontline staff and services who have done so much to keep us all safe in the year gone by. We have taken huge care to ensure that all the activities around this virtual festival and parade have complied fully with all the public guidelines and we look forward to returning in 2022 with a more traditional-style day of celebration and a long weekend of our normal Tradfest programme," he said.
All the events can be seen on www.stpatricksfestivalkilkenny.com and on the festival’s social media platforms on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube channel.
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