August wouldn’t be August without Kilkenny Arts Festival

August 3, 2020

August wouldn’t be August without Kilkenny Arts Festival

As we head into 2020’s August back holiday weekend here in Kilkenny, we are delighted with the initial response to our recent announcement of KILKENNY ARTS FESTIVAL X: a special kind of festival for these strange times.

We know that nothing can replace the energy of artists and audiences being physically together, so we’re particularly heartened by the response to our announced live events! SOLAR BONES, an adaptation of Mike McCormack’s book by Michael West and Rough Magic, sold out its reduced Watergate Theatre capacity immediately, as did EIGHT SEASONS, where the Irish Chamber Orchestra perform Four Seasons by Vivaldi and Astor Piazzolla in St Canice’s Cathedral. We hope to release extra tickets for both these events if public health guidelines change in the coming weeks: please sign up here to our waiting list if you’re interested in coming to either of these events and you’ll be the first to know!

SOLAR BONES  Waiting List    EIGHT SEASONS Waiting List

There are also some limited tickets still available for our other live shows: dancer Luke Murphy’s installation performances of CLOUDS AND BOULDERS at the Butler Gallery (free tickets can be booked via and ENCOUNTERS, a series of intimate concerts for individuals and small family units in various locations around Kilkenny: you can apply for free tickets for these very special experiences via

Our much loved SECRET GARDEN MUSIC series is back this year… with a twist.

We’ve (secretly) pre-recorded some wonderful musicians performing in some of Kilkenny’s best loved rooms and gardens, and will be releasing a performance daily at 2pm between August 8th and 16th on our website. Performers include Siobhan Armstrong, Sharon Carty, David Keenan, Mick McAuley, Laoise O’Brien, David Power and Malcolm Proud. Be sure to check out our “Watch and Listen” section each day to see who’s popping up. 

Visual Arts is always strong in Kilkenny, and there is some stunning work to see in the city’s re-opened galleries and spaces: photographer Amelia Stein’s THE BLOODS is in the new Butler Gallery and Evan’s Home, as is GREY AREA, a film by Niall O’Brien and Sam Curtin with a stunning Sam Perkins score performed by Crash Ensemble.

You can see Helen Comerford’s COVID-19 APRIL DIARY at the Watergate Theatre Gallery, a series of paintings created in response to the pandemic, and the National Design & Craft Council presents two exhibitions: GENERATION, an intriguing exhibition of objects and textiles where eight Irish-based designer-makers reinvent craft traditions begun by previous generations of their families; and CONNECTED, and outdoor sculpture trail.

Artist Blaise Smith embarks on VILLAGE PEOPLE, an ambitious online visual art project as part of this year’s Festival. Every afternoon (3-8pm) from August 10-15 on the festival’s Facebook page, you can witness him, live, painting the portraits of people in his home village, Dungarvan Co. Kilkenny. 

For more information on how to experience these and other festival events - spanning live performances, exhibitions and online – visit Please do follow us on social media also: we look forward to welcoming you to Kilkenny Arts Festival X (whether in person or online!).