18 May 2022

Kilkenny Cats came out to play for Kilkenny Day


Kilkenny was awash in black and amber on Sunday, as the county celebrated the second annual ‘Kilkenny Day’.

Celebrating everything that is great about Kilkenny, locals and visitors were out in force, enjoying the sunshine and the festival of events happening around the city and county. 


The Parade and Kilkenny Castle were a hub of activity with market stalls, street performers, live music, storytelling, and old school apple pressing. Déise Medieval snuck in from Waterford and took over the Medieval Mile Museum Courtyard, showing what it was like to live, eat and fight like a Viking. Fight demonstrations and Viking interactions delighted spectators. 

Ros Tapestry Talks took place at the other end of Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile, in Rothe House. This very special talk by researcher, historian and designer Countess Ann Griffin Bernstorff, spoke about this mammoth project that involved a collaborative effort of over 150 embroiders over 22 years. These wonderful volunteers freely dedicated their time to create this masterpiece of craftsmanship and Irish history. The completed panels of the Tapestry are on display in Kilkenny Castle, while the final panel depicting the  ‘Battle of Ossory’ is being worked on in public view in Kilkenny’s Rothe House. 

Speaking at the close of the event, Kilkenny County Council Cathaoirleach Cllr Fidelis Doherty, thanked Countess Ann Griffin-Bernstorff and her daughter Alexis for an inspiring presentation.

“The Ros Tapestry is truly an historic tale told in thread; it depicts, in a most engaging way, the Norman history and the influence of William Marshall in the South East. We have been so fortunate that the vision for this project was brought to reality through the work of the great people like Ann and Alexis and the wonderful skilled volunteers over the past two decades," she said.

Another highlight of the 'Kilkenny Day' celebrations was a special outdoor screening of Cartoon Saloon’s Oscar nominated Wolfwalkers in the grounds of Kilkenny Castle. Inspired by the landmarks and forests of Kilkenny, ‘Wolfwalkers’ was nominated for best animated feature film at the 2021 Oscars, and tells the tale of Robyn, a young apprentice hunter and her father who journey to Ireland to help wipe out the last wolf pack. But everything changes when she befriends a free-spirited girl from a mysterious tribe rumoured to have the ability to transform into wolves by night.

The screenings were attended by 452 people of all ages, and were backlit by the magnificent Kilkenny Castle. Movie goers were introduced to the movie by Wolfwalkers Producer Paul Young and Co-Director Ross Stewart. Familiar Kilkenny places were spotted by eagle eyed viewers, including Kilkenny Castle making the event even more special.

Kilkenny towns Callan, Ballyragget and Castlecomer played hosts to the last in a series of performances by Festival in a Van ‘Words Move’ tour. The tour presented by Festival in a Van and Poetry Ireland, saw ten poets and ten singer songwriters perform across Ireland in a purpose built, Covid-safe mobile venue. Beautifully finishing on the 10th of the 10th in their tenth venue with their tenth acts, Kilkenny based poet Mark Roper and Kilkenny singer songwriter Mick McAuley travelled around the County delighting audiences in public squares and parks. The well attended events were enjoyed by all! 

After the extended lock-downs of the past 18 months, we’re slowly starting to emerge from our shells and joining a new club or getting involved in a local initiative is a great way to meet new people and expand your bubble. Getting out to explore Kilkenny and learn about all it has to offer was a focus of this year’s Kilkenny Day. The meet Your Community, Clubs and Council event introduced the public to clubs and organisations in Kilkenny showing them all the ways they can get involved.

On the river were the Nore Dragon Paddlers, a great supportive group who have all had breast cancer. Cycle Kilkenny were on Canal Square encouraging everyone to consider this greener method of transport. There were bike maintenance workshops, obstacle courses and High Nellies to be enjoyed. On the Parade Music Generation offered instrument taster sessions, Kilkenny Library had story telling with author Carol Ann Treacy, and Nore Vision and Keep Kilkenny Beautiful were encouraging people to get involved. 

Other highlights of the weekend included a behind the scenes tour of Nowlan Park, local live concerts in the Castle Park with headliners The Kilkennys and Jerry Fish and the launch of the Kilkenny Catwalk Trail, an art trail around the city that will be in place till Easter 2022. 

Colette Byrne, Chief Executive of Kilkenny County Council said it was great to see so many people out enjoying Kilkenny in the sunshine.

"There was black and amber everywhere and everyone was in such high spirits getting involved in the fantastic programme of events that was on offer. This event is growing year on year and we are encouraging communities throughout the city and County to think about how they might celebrate Kilkenny next year," she said.

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