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All posts in Kilkenny

stay in a stone cottage in Kilkenny IrelandFancy staying in a stone cottage on your Kilkenny visit?


Enjoy a charming slice of country life during Kilkenny Arts Festival, or beyond!

You can rent the cottage by the day, week, or longer. I know the person renting it out, and though I don’t usually post places to stay if I’ve not been there myself, when I saw she was renting it I said I’d let you all know about it;  it seems a fab place to stay if you’re visiting Kilkenny during the Arts Festival–it’s located just a short drive from Kilkenny City. The cottage is located on the grounds of her home, too, so you won’t be totally isolated, but you will of course have your privacy.

Here are the cottage details:

Newly refurbed stone cottage
Located 8km from Kilkenny down a country lane, bordered on either side by Stud farms
Private Garden and secure parking

Studio Apartment with Mezzanine double bedroom
Ground floor with living area, solid fuel stove flat screen TV
Small kitchen, opening into a dining area for four people
New large shower and WC


Arts Week / August Rates

Daily rental €75 per night
Weekly rental €400
Monthly rental €1000

Kilkenny cottage you can rentThe stone cottage is an ideal place to retreat and get away from it all and still be close to beautiful city of Kilkenny. It’d also suit a mature student moving to Kilkenny for NUI Maynooth (St. Kierans College Campus) on a September start. If right tennant found a special term time rate could be arranged for the academic year.

If you are interested in staying in the cottage, email Anne Marie:  info (AT)

Blue Raincoat Theatre Co_ A Brief Taste of Lightening at Tread Softly festival

Blue Raincoat Theatre Co A Brief Taste of Lightening. On at Tread Softly festival, Sligo

Wondering what’s on?

Flea markets, battle reenactment, art exhibits, paint-outs, craft talks, music, fashion & family fun–it’s all happening!

I’ve had some interesting events notices land in my email from all over Ireland, & I figured I better pass ’em on so you can sort out your calendars before its too late. Whether you’re looking for things to do when visiting Ireland over the next few weeks or are looking for a local day out, peruse & choose! 😀


To start off with, in Kilkenny you can enjoy exhibits of craft, and art:


EXHIBITION: Up From Earth Show NCG Grads 2014 'Up from Earth'

18July–3 August

An exhibition of ceramics from the students of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s Ceramics Skills & Design Course, curated by Gus Mabelson. Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s Ceramics Skills & Design Course is a unique two-year intensive programme designed to equip graduates with the practical skills to
 develop careers in the ceramics industry.

Located at the beautiful Island Mill, Thomastown, this extremely successful course has established an excellent reputation in the industry both nationally and internationally, and many of its graduates have gone on to establish international careers. The biennial graduation exhibition is an opportunity to spot stars of the future. Up From Earth will be launched by Jack Doherty, internationally renowned ceramicist, at 6.30pm on Friday 18 July.

LATE DATE: Meet the Makers

DCCoI Ceramics Course 2014 graduates with Tutor Gus Mableson

Thurs 24 July, 6.30pm

An informal evening of discussion and sharing with the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s Ceramics Course Graduates, class of 2014. Each maker will chat through their practices and processes focusing on the works in the exhibition. Meet the makers and have a glass of wine.

National Craft Gallery, Castle Yard, Kilkenny FREE

Felicity Clear

Drawings Plans Projections

June 14 – July 27, 2014

The Butler Gallery is delighted to present Drawings Plans Projections, an exhibition by Felicity Clear, which includes wall drawings, structures and animation.

Clear’s earlier work included precise large-scale drawings using graphite and acrylic on paper of high-rise modernist building schemes, suburban parking lots, and ghost cranes hovering over building sites with wide empty skies. These drawings were occasionally populated by trees but rarely ever with people.

Clear has made a shift in her practice in the past few years,and broadened out into more abstract ideas of structure, stability and failure. The recent drawings describe structures that are untenable, and ambiguous as to their beginning, middle and end. The process begins with the making of small-scale simple wooden structures that are intuitive and quickly constructed and reference architectural models. Studio lights cast two-way shadows of the models back onto paper, which are then drawn in pencil. Clear expands upon her process:

Felicity Clear at Butler GalleryWhen the structures are taken away there is a gap in perspectival logic, which makes the drawings difficult for the eye to interpret.  There is also a good deal of repetition in the work; repetitive pencil marks and repetition in the making of the models, where there is a potentially infinite supply of different solutions in a never-ending pursuit of an impossible or undeclared goal.

Clear has become interested in the use of projection to generate large wall drawings. This led her in a whole new direction, involving screen and moving image, and ultimately towards the use of animation to fulfil new ideas.  In a work entitled ‘Blueprints’, three structures revolve through space in a stop-go animation. In its making each element has been drawn, rubbed out and drawn again, moving slightly each time. Eventually the drawings form a loop and appear to be revolving again and again, with each individual drawing leaving a trace, referencing the handmade.

A large-scale drawing, ‘here’s the thing,’ flows down the wall and out onto the gallery floor leading the viewer inwards to consider its multiple drawing propositions. The varied structures, which have become more complicated and self-contained over time, cast myriad shadows back onto the drawing, distorting our perceptions. It is not clear where light ends and wall begins.

In Drawings Plans Projections, we survey Clear’s ideas at work and at play, punctuating the galleries with experimentation, whimsy and skill.

Felicity Clear is from Greystones, Co. Wicklow but lives and works in Dublin. After receiving a degree in Natural Science from Trinity College Dublin, she went on to study Fine Art at the National College of Art and Design from which she graduated in 1991. She received an MA in Visual Arts Practice in 2007 from Dun Laoghaire College of Art and Design. Clear has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally and has had solo exhibitions at the Rubicon Gallery and The Lab in Dublin, the Mermaid Arts Centre in Wicklow, the Galway Arts Centre, and The Drawing Project, Dún Laoghaire. She has also been included in group exhibitions at Limerick City Gallery, Crawford Art Gallery, Irish Museum Of Modern Art, National Gallery Of Ireland, Contemporary Arts Society London and the Shanghai Contemporary Art Museum.Her work appears in many private and public collections including, the Arts Council Of Ireland, Goldman Sachs UK, KPMG, Office Of Public Works, Dublin Institute Of Technology, RTÈ, Tralee RTC, Allied Irish Bank, Irish Contemporary Arts Society and private collections.

Butler Gallery at The Castle, Kilkenny, Ireland

t: + 353 56 7761106  e:

flower carlow garden festival

Don’t forget to check out Kilkenny Arts festival, 8-17 August, too!

Staying in the sunny southeast, in county Carlow you can feed your flower fetish and enjoy gorgeous gardens at the Carlow Garden Festival– I’ve a whole post on it, with how to win tickets & other prizes, here.

And in county Wexford, there’s tons on too:


Art in the Open Festival  2014

Wexford will host Europe’s largest outdoor Art Festival as ‘Art in the Open’ takes place from July 28 until Aug 4.

Six spectacular ‘Paint-outs’ are the core of Art in the Open Festival where artists will take to some of the Southeasts most stunning scenery, charming villages and historic towns including Courtown, Graignamanagh, Enniscorthy, Ballyhack, Clonegal, and Wexford Town, where they will create a masterpiece of the vista.

Art In The Open. The festival culminates in a giant exhibition of all the pieces created, featuring 2,500 paintings exhibited in Wexford town. Festivalgoers can join the artists or observe the creative process, enjoy workshops, a quickdraw or a painter’s pint.

For further details see



Vinegar Hill Battle ReEnactment, Aug 1- 3

Witness history unfold this August Bank Holiday weekend and make tracks for Enniscorthy as the town hosts Ireland’s largest Battle Reenactment. Vinegar Hill is the venue for a free re-creation of the 1798 Battle of Vinegar Hill.

Experience life as an 18th Century redcoat, learn about the heroic pikemen of ’98, or see blacksmiths preparing for battle. Why not even enlist to take part and re-live a momentous scene from Irelands’ history books.Battle Vinegar Hill Battle Reenactment


Gorey Market House Festival – August Bank Holiday Weekend 2014 – July 31 to August 3.

The very best in music, fashion and family fun. North Wexford’s premier open air Festival is even bigger and better this year with Live outdoor music from Jack L, Corner Boy, White Chalk and Riptide Movement. Plus, exhibitions, tons of kids fun, market day, Ireland’s only open air street fashion extravaganza with Brendan Courtney and lots more.

It’s a festival for all the family over the August Bank Holiday Weekend. Check out the fun Jam ‘N’ Jam competition featuring three categories ‘Best Strawberry’, ‘Best Raspberry’ and ‘Best Unusual Combination.’ Irish food writer Biddy White Lennon will award a prize of €100 for the 1st place entries, €50 for 2nd place and a Jam making kit for 3rd place. The pot of jam dubbed ‘Best in Show’ will win the overall prize of €200.


Head to the wild & beautiful northwest and you can Tread Softly at the fabulous Yeats festival (dedicated post here,) or find some vintage treasures at the Sligo Flea Market:

Sligo Flea Market, 19 July

Are you hunting for something unique? A special dress for your upcoming Debs, or have a summer event coming up? Look no further as Sligo’s only indoor vintage, vinyl and craft market returns to The Model on 19 July for the second of a trio of markets taking place throughout the summer. Stallholders will be selling one of a kind vintage dresses from the 1950s to the 1970s, with costume jewellery to match!

sligo flea market 2The spacious, cool interior of the historic Model building is perfectly suited for comfortably browsing the stalls of vinyl records, local crafts and illustrators, bric a brac, costume jewellery and vintage clothing.

The market will be open to the public between 12-5pm, there is free Wi-Fi in the building, and after an afternoon of browsing and buying, visitors can unwind at The Model Café, located in the bright central atrium of The Model.

If you’d like to apply for a stall, we are currently accepting applications for our final summer market (23 August). Visit our Facebook page at

You can follow the activity of the Sligo Flea, from stallholders, live updates and all the latest news, on Facebook, instagram and twitter, and by using the hashtag #SligoFlea


In the lake studded county of Cavan, you can catch the Cavan Theatre Festival:

Cavan Theatre Festival will host a four day theatre festival from 17th to 20th July 2014. Officially launched at the Abbey Theatre, during the celebrations of World Theatre Day on 27th March, it will provide a new and ambitious platform for theatre artists both local and national to perform and network. Some Flood at Cavan Theatre festival

Cavan is a county buzzing with arts and culture, the Cavan Theatre Festival’s Kieron Smith (Artistic Director) and the Cavan Theatre Festival team are aiming to showcase some of the best plays produced nationwide.

Kilkenny’s Devious Theatre Company will be opening the festival with Some Flood. Terry and I saw this in Kilkenny and we quite enjoyed it– do go! You can download the full theatre festival program over on This is Cavan and check out the Cavan Theatre Festival’s Facebook page, too. (I found their website didn’t work well for me..)

And if all these fab events leave you in need of a refreshing break, well, I can tell you from experience that Cavan’s historic hotel & spa gem, Farnham Estate, will see you right! Enjoy filling your calendar with fun 😀

treatment room, Radisson Blu Farnham Estate Cavan

One of the treatment rooms, pic via Radisson Blu Farnham Estate Cavan.

Marilyn Lerner will have her colourful artworks at Butler Gallery.

Marilyn Lerner will have her colourful artworks at Butler Gallery. Pic via

It’s one of the most exciting times to be in Kilkenny City!



Kilkenny Arts Festival 2014! 

8 -17 August will bring 10 days packed with things to go to. The festival is full of music, art, theatre & more! I’ve picked 7 vibrant events you may like; have a gander!

In no particular order, here we go:


1. Marilyn Lerner’s Circle In The Square

Butler Gallery, 10-5.30 everyday

The Butler Gallery is delighted to host Ireland’s first exhibition of the New York-based painter Marilyn Lerner.

Lerner is an extraordinary artist who has been committed to making abstract geometric paintings for over forty years. Her oil paintings are painted on wooden panels with bevelled edges so that they almost float off the wall. They are highly skillful compositions that articulate her experiences through form, pattern and colour. Geometric abstraction is present among many cultures throughout history, both as decorative motifs and as art pieces themselves. Lerner has travelled extensively through North Africa and South East Asia and these trips have informed her work and made the language of geometry the focus of her work.

2. Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino

12 Aug, 9.30 pm; Set Theatre. Tickets €20

This should be a fun night! The Set is a lovely venue, and there’s room downstairs for dancing. Each year at the Arts Festival groovy bands play here and the floor fills with dancing. Such a great vibe, don’t miss it!

In the Guardian’s Best Albums of 2013: Robin Denselow’s world music albums of the year, he said of them:

One of the most exciting bands at WOMAD this summer, Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino are from southeast Italy and play pizzica, a style said to cure spider bites, thanks to the pounding, hypnotic effect of the insistent frame drum, matched against fiddle, bagpipes, accordion and five-part harmonies.

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3. Kate Tempest

9 Aug, 10.30 pm; Set Theatre. Tickets €20

One of the most exciting talents in the UK, a combustible rapper and a prolific performance poet, playwright and (soon) novelist whose work mines the drama in ordinary lives,” the Kilkenny Arts blurb tells us. This looks to be another good night at the Set. Have a watch of one of her videos below:

Read more about Kate Tempest, along with the link to book, here. 

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4. Resonance

National Craft Gallery, open every day; times vary so check their website.

Combining glasswork and sound, Resonance is intriguing! Without having seen/heard it, it’s probably best I just share the info from the Kilkenny Arts site.

Resonance brings together two artists, Karen Donnellan and Róisín de Buitléar, whose innovative work explores the sonic qualities of glass.

Róisín de Buitléar’s Irish Incantation/Ortha is a series of glass sound objects made to create an Irish incantation, a harmony of voice, object and Irish soul. When played by different hands and breaths of phrasing and rhythm, they become an evolving conversation. Liam O’Maonlai will perform with the sound objects in the Set Theatre on Friday 8 August.

Karen Donnellan’s work is concerned with the intangible essence of things. Informed by her interest in the metaphysical, her work draws on a wide range of media including blown and cast glass, woodturning, sound, light and film. Working with composer Alma Kelliher, her work explores the boundaries of sound technology and experimental glass art.

In Gallery 1 Karen and Róisín have developed an interactive glass sound experience using objects found in everyday life that enables visitors to try out their own music.


An informal percussion evening on Tuesday 12 August at 5.30pm. See for details.


Luminarium Miracoco at Kilkenny Arts festival

In the Luminarium Miracoco at Kilkenny Arts festival last year

5. Pentalum, by Architects of Air

Kilkenny Castle Yard, Sats & Suns 10-6, weekdays 12-6. €5 (Pay on-site)

Loved this! Fun for ALL ages! This crowd was at last year’s Kilkenny Arts Festival with a different luminarium (Miracoco,) and Terry and I spent ages in it! It was gorgeous and relaxing in there– the colours and light were spellbinding. This year’s offering is a “A hymn to the beauty of geometry,Pentalum features a breathtaking central dome and a maze of magical spaces filled with enchanting light effects.”

I’ve a few tips for you regarding a visit to this year’s offering– as the light was all-natural (I’m assuming this year will be the same,) if you can go when it’s sunny the colours will be more intense.  Also, it is very popular, there will be a wait. Try going first thing in the morning, perhaps. Children (under 16) will need to be with an adult, and the luminarium IS wheelchair accessible.

6. Lear Project

At Watergate Theatre, tickets €18

Fri, 15 Aug 6pm      Sat, 16 Aug 6pm        Sun, 17 Aug 6pm

You know, it’s ok not to understand what it all means. I’m a big fan of dance, especially after I learned that truth straight from those involved in the dance world! (You can see more on that in this post.) I’ve also seen a few of John Scott’s productions, so I’m looking forward to this World Premiere. Also, as it is based around Shakespeare, there will be plenty we can understand 🙂

In a world premiere commissioned by Kilkenny Arts Festival, Irish Modern Dance Theatre reimagines Shakespeare’s King Lear. Choreographer John Scott and an international cast explore themes of parental love, old age, loss of power, fear of death, personal transformation and enlightenment.

The title role is taken by a legend of the New York modern dance scene: Valda Setterfield, one of the original members of the seminal Judson Church movement and a long-time collaborator of Merce Cunningham and her husband, choreographer David Gordon. The performers portraying Lear’s children include Kévin Coquelard (star of the Paris Conservatoire) and Ryan O’Neill (Ponydance and Junk Ensemble).

Lear Project promises to be a deeply personal, playful and profoundly moving new work.

7. Stargaze

Thurs, 14 Aug 8 pm, St Canices Cathedral. tickets €26- €22

One more event that piqued my curiosity was Stargaze. Again, I’ll give you a bit of info from the festival as I’ve no prior knowledge of them, and below is also a video. You can read all of the Kilkenny Arts Fest blurb on Stargaze here. St Canices’ is a beautiful medieval cathedral, and it is a privilege to be able to go enjoy concerts there.

Founded by conductor André de Ridder, stargaze is one of Europe’s most dynamic chamber orchestras. As well as performing as an ensemble, stargaze also devises and commissions a wide range of collaborative projects in the fields of contemporary pop, electronic and classical music, working with artists as varied as Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly and Mouse on Mars. For this spectacular gala event, stargaze comes together with Kilkenny Arts Festival to present three radically different projects that explore the possibilities for collaboration between pop and classical music.

There are, of course, LOADS more ace things to see & hear at the festival. This year Kilkenny Arts Festival has a handy at-a-glance calender of listings online. Check that out here.

Also, don’t forget the fringe art & craft shows. I especially enjoy the craft ones in Thomastown– Grennan Mill is always super. If you’d like to see any of the past years’ posts on Kilkenny Arts festival you’ll find them here.


Big Draw spirograph colourful art & craftSuper Spirograph!

The BIG DRAW @ National Craft Gallery– Free fun for all ages!

Hands up who had a Spirograph as a kid? Wasn’t it just so cool!? Now you and your kids can relive some of that creative fun during National Drawing Day in Kilkenny’s National Craft Gallery. The events are free, and you can just drop-in; no need to book. So whether you live in the area, or are just visiting Kilkenny, go enjoy something a little different 🙂


National Drawing Day  | Saturday 17th May, 12noon – 4pm

Join the National Craft Gallery for a day of dynamic drop-in drawing activities to celebrate National Drawing Day, taking as inspiration the geometry and pattern in Beauty is the First Test exhibition. Create a large scale Spirograph drawing, weave large drawings in the grass outside, explore line and space in the court yard and re-design works in the exhibition using our Young Makers Worksheets. spirograph designs
Giant Spirograph: Explore the magic of these drawing tools and make your own designs. You are invited to make a group drawing that will stay on display in the gallery for the weekend.
Fibre Mapping: Using the grass as a giant canvas, join us to create huge collaborative fibre line drawings mapping out patterns through colour and line.
Making Space: Follow the architectural and geometric lines of the courtyard using colourful tape to make the courtyard into a gigantic drawing.

Workshops are open to all ages, elements may especially be suited for children, but all the family are welcome to take part.The BIG DRAW is an exciting opportunity to create large temporary artworks! FREE, drop-in events, no booking required!

And for more grown-up fun, don’t miss the Late Date at the National Craft Gallery this Friday 16 May, followed by the launch of the Exhiiot. Again it is free, and you’ll get a glass of wine into the bargain!

Beauty is the First Test: Curator Tour with Liz Cooper

 Fri 16th May, 6pm

Curator of Beauty is the First Test Liz Cooper will give a short tour of the exhibition and discuss the works involved. This will be followed by a launch of the exhibition at 7pm by Tomás Ó Ruairc, Director of the Teaching Council.  Beauty is the First Test will run from 16 May to 9 July, 2014, and the blurb for the show tells us:

Mathematical concepts underpin many craft techniques, especially around textile construction, and can be key tools for artistic development. This exhibition’s intention is to unlock and demystify maths by showing unique and stimulating works of art, and also inviting in-depth consideration of contemporary artistic and craft practices in this wider context. Beauty is the First Test sets out to show that art and mathematics are more closely bound together than many perceive and that the enjoyment of one can enhance the understanding of the other.

I wouldn’t be a big fan of maths, but the idea of  demystifying maths with art is appealing. I can’t wait to see what will be on show. And I think I may go try to hunt down my old spirograph from the attic 🙂

See what else will be happening in conjunction with Beauty is The First Test here

To see what wonderful crafts have been on show before, click here.

Graig Goes Wild!Come join in!

From serene nature walks and painting in the wild, to white water fun and stand-up paddling, Graiguenamanagh has something for the whole family at the Graig Goes Wild festival 26-27 April 2014.

Nestling in the winding Barrow Valley along the border of Sunny Southeast Ireland counties Carlow and Kilkenny, the charming medieval village of Graiguenamanagh is a perfect hub for outdoor activities. To help bring awareness of some of what this magical area has to offer, the 1st Graig Goes Wild festival is on this coming weekend, and I’m pretty sure there will be an activity that will tempt you! bluebells in graiguenamanagh ireland

The timing is perfect, because the bluebells in Silair Wood have just opened, and a stroll there will be scented by their delicate perfume. Stop and linger on the riverside boardwalk, or bring a picnic and watch the river & kayakers go by if you don’t wish to do an on- river activity yourself. There will be an evening BBQ and adventure films as well!  Have a look at the program for full events listings.

I’m a big fan of Graiguenamanagh, and, ok, I may be biased as I live here, but I genuinely feel Graig is one of Ireland’s hidden assets. It deserves to be more widely visited, and the community in the area are fantastic. Add it to your Irish vacation plans, you’ll love it! Drop by a pub for a pint, or call by Coffee on High and check out their new stock of local Irish products. Will we see you nipping into Doyles authentic traditional pub after your adventures? How could you resist? 😀

Doyles authentic traditional Irish Pub, Graiguenamanagh

Doyles authentic traditional Irish Pub, Graiguenamanagh

Did you know that Graiguenamanagh also has one of the biggest & best rural St Patrick’s Day parades around? Definitely have a gander at these photos from 2014’s parade. AND there are good places for ‘wild swimming’ in the river, while in summer there are lifeguards on duty, too. There are also diving boards into the river by the quays! I’ve more posts on the Graiguenamanagh area; you can have a look here.

Here’s a bit of official info about Graignamanagh and its connection to the river:

The River Barrow, historically a significant highway, was developed as a commercial navigation in the mid seventeen hundreds and Graiguenamanagh served as the main base for commercial barges operating on the river until barge traffic ceased in 1959. The barges that at one time lined the quaysides are now replaced by some one hundred pleasure craft. 

Walking and hillclimbing are among the popular pursuits of the Graiguenamanagh area and with the South Leinster Way meandering through the lovely Barrow Valley and traversing nearby Brandon Hill, scope is provided for the a gentle stroll or a vigorous, day-long hike. The Barrow’s aquatic facilities include fishing, swimming, kayaking and canoeing. Graigue, as the town is popularly known, is home to a rowing club and the two popular sporting clubs, the G.A.A and the soccer club, Highview Athletic.

The Duiske Abbey, which takes its name from the little river Duiske (Blackwater) which joins the Barrow here, was founded by William Marshall in 1204 and was suppressed by Henry VIII in 1536. Significant remains of the monastery exist to the rear of the houses that line the east side of Lower Main Street. The abbey’s large “Early English” gothic church, was restored in the 1970s and in its northern aisle a model shows the monastery as it was in the fourteenth century. (Via wikipedia)

Come and enjoy the outdoors, history, and fun in Graiguenamanagh!

Driving into the sunset for Kilkenny Roots festival 2014

Driving into the sunset for Kilkenny Roots festival 2014

Music lovers, don’t miss this!

The Kilkenny Roots Festival has got to be one of the very best places to hear great musicians, see them up close in atmospheric venues, and buzz with the eclectic crowd of festival goers– in short, have the craic.

 **CONTEST NOW CLOSED**  I’ve got TICKETS to give away for 3 of the paid g1gs! **CONTEST NOW CLOSED** I gave every commenter a number, & used to generate 3 random numbers. Congrats to winners:

1 single ticket for Hidden Highways at Billy Byrnes Friday 2nd May 8pm **WINNER–> OLIVE!** 

A set of 2 for Barrence Whitfield & The Savages at Set Theatre Sat 3rd May 10pm  **WINNER–> IAIN!**

A set of 2 for Morgan O’Kane at Ryans Sunday 4th May 9.30 pm **WINNER–>JENNIFER**

Have a listen to them in the sample music selection below.

To enter, comment at the end of this post with your name & which show you’d like most to see. There will be 3 winners, drawn at random. **CLOSED** at 5pm Thursday 1st May, winners announced 6pm Thursday 1st May . I’ll announce winners  on this post and on Twitter & Facebook. Good Luck!


And it is great value! About half of the gigs are free, & the rest generally cost between €10-€20; recession busting at its finest.

This year’s festival runs 2-5 May, 2014 and is FULL of great gigs. Some have sold out at time of this post update (12 April 2014) so don’t dilly dally- check out the artists ( 2014 gig list here) & book your tickets!

The Kilkenny Roots Festival have also made a sampler of the music of the non-free bands, have a listen:

Since 1998, The Kilkenny Rhythm and Roots Festival has attracted some of the finest names in the Americana canon; acts like Calexico, Giant Sand, Ryan Adams,Alejandro Escovedo, Mark Eitzel, Guy Clark, Chuck Prophet, Ray LaMontagne,Richmond Fontaine, Rodney Crowell… The list is very long, and these are but a small few names who have been drawn to the magnet of the Marble City Mardi Gras in the past. Country, folk, blues, bluegrass, rockabilly, cajun etc…

All forms of what we like to call Americana are well represented over the four days. From midday to midnight audiences wind their way through the medieval streets sampling the huge range of music in the 30 plus venues, hosting over 30 acts from Ireland, USA, Canada, UK and Sweden, with over 80 ticketed and free shows. There’s a mixture of old and new acts on the free pub gig trail and all styles will be catered for, from swing to bluegrass, rockabilly to cajun, folk and the blues.

John Cleere has been organising the festival for years, and has a keen ear/eye for quality acts. One of the big scoops in 2012 was Alabama Shakes, and seeing them live at the Set Theatre I realized that they are without a doubt a band that should be experienced live. So get their CD/download/vinyl, but also SEE THEM LIVE! Here’s a taster of them doing a song you likely best know as performed by Led Zeppelin

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Imagine it live– it was fabulous!

Truthfully they rocked so hard my faithful Galaxy S2 couldn’t handle the louder bits and the sound went very distorted,- thus the more subdued clip 🙂

I REALLY recommend you drive off into the sunset and spend a golden 3 day weekend in Kilkenny at the Kilkenny Roots Festival 2014!

So get booking – I put off booking, myself, & a gig I wanted to go to sold out! See you in Kilkenny 😀

PS: check out these tips on where to eat in Kilkenny! For newspaper articles see this article where musician & writer Willy Vlautin tells about his experience of the festival. Head to Kilkenny & find out for yourself! 🙂

The Liffey Dublin,39x57cm, 2010, Charcoal (Credit Denis Mortell)

The Liffey Dublin, 2010, Charcoal (Credit Denis Mortell)

Take your time at ‘Slow Art Day’

Slow Art Day 2014 in Kilkenny will start at 2.30pm in the
Butler Gallery and then move on to National Craft Gallery.

First there was Slow Food, then Slow Travel, and now Slow Art! On 12 April you can enjoy a lingering look at both art and fine craft in Kilkenny City.You’ll look at four works of art for 5-10 minutes each and then get together over coffee to have a chat about the experience. Have a read of what’s on show (and, PS, if you like cheese, the same Slow ethos is inherent in the Artisan Cheese Evening on 3 April at Highbank Orchard.) Here’s the scoop on Slow Art Day:

'Sultanahmet Istanbul'  38x57cm  2008  watercolour (Credit Denis Mortell)

‘Sultanahmet Istanbul’ 2008 watercolour (Credit Denis Mortell)

The Louvre discovered that visitors look at the Mona Lisa for just 15 seconds on average.

This April, take your time and really look. Kilkenny’s National Craft Gallery and the Butler Gallery invite you to join us for this year’s Slow Art Day!

International Slow Art Day on 12th April encourages you to pause and find inspiration within a small selection of artworks for up to 10 minutes each.

This free Kilkenny event will begin at 2.30pm on Saturday 12th April at the Butler Gallery, continuing on to the National Craft Gallery in the Castle Yard. Afterwards visitors are invited to discuss the experience over a coffee.

At the Butler Gallery exhibition gallery visitors will choose a small selection from over four decades of drawings and watercolours by internationally renowned artist Stephen McKenna. On view are landscapes and seascapes that celebrate nature as a place of being, and cityscapes, interiors and still lifes that show the evolution of a pictorial language that expresses McKenna’s beliefs in art.

Over at the National Craft Gallery you can explore Interlace, an exhibition focusing on contemporary interpretations of lace. The exhibition includes work from a diverse range of makers including textile artist Caroline Schofield, glass artist Róisín de Buitléar and fashion designer Natalie B. Coleman. During Slow Art Day spend time reflecting on contemporary lace interpretations in glass, textiles, ceramic and fashion.

Since it’s founding in 2009, Slow Art Day has grown from a single venue event held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City to over 180 venues around the world. Be part of the worldwide movement by getting involved in this local event! Join us for an afternoon of Slow Art starting at the Butler Gallery on Saturday 12th April from 2.30pm.


Gild wearing st patricks day hat & gear ready for parade

Nancy is thrilled to cycle with Graigue Bike & Hike in the Graiguenamanagh St Patrick’s Day Parade. Pic GraigueBikeHire

Everyone loves a parade!

Here are some photos from the 2014 St Patrick’s Day parade through our village of Graiguenamanagh, Ireland.

 Mount Leinster Rangers  hurling  cups

The Mount Leinster Rangers are in the final! Will they come home with another cup?

The Paddy’s Day parade was held on Sunday, because today a local hurling team, the Mount Leinster Rangers, is in the final in Croke Park! It’s all very exciting, & we wish them the best.

Update: Well, the team played a hard game, but didn’t win. They will still be welcomed home as heroes, because making it to the final is in itself a huge achievement. Well done, lads!

It was a fun parade this year, with a steam tractor joining the other vintage tractors, fab performances by children’s groups & marching bands, fun floats, & of course the obligatory breakdown of one of the vintage cars :-O

There was transport of all kinds represented- as well as the tractors & cars there was a pony & cart, bikes, motorbikes, firetrucks, a digger & more. Sure, where else would you want to be on Paddy’s Weekend other than Graiguenamanagh, the ‘village of the monks’? 😀


Enjoy the photos!


Transport of all types was on show:


 Thankfully there was only one drink driver:

 Bike Hire & O'Hara's beer

When this lady, Miss Rosie, showed up in the parade with her bottle of Locally brewed O’Hara’s beer, we worried about possibly tipsy biking 😉 Pic: GraigueBikeHire

Cute alert! Happy performers & marchers ahead 🙂

*Some* of these people aren’t quite as cute, but that’s okay 😉

And I mustn’t forget the vintage!

I don’t know about you, but for me, this guy’s suit wins the parade! Love it! Hope you enjoyed this sample of Graiguenamanagh‘s St Patrick’s day parade. Maybe we’ll see you there next year!

You’ll find more St Patrick’s Day posts here

Medieval stone carving, rude bishop Kilkenny

This sure does look like a rude gesture! I reckon the Bishop is telling the Kilkenny witches to feck off 😉

Mischievous Medieval Folk!

Witches and rude Bishops are just a few of the characters you may meet on Ireland’s Medieval Mile in Kilkenny City.

This charming & friendly small city is full of stories & historic buildings, and with the launch of the Medieval Mile even more gems are being restored– and new attractions added! Kilkenny is definitely a destination to add to your Irish vacation or staycation list.

The Mile roughly runs from Kilkenny Castle to St Canice’s Cathedral, and takes in Rothe House, The Thosel, St Mary’s church and much more. Visit Kilkenny have made a handy interactive map that shows you places of interest. Do note that medieval spots aren’t just on the main mile, but fan out from it as well. Gardens, brewery experiences, The National Museum in Kilkenny, art galleries & more are all in the works, so keep an eye on Visit Kilkenny for updates.

Medieval Knight in Kilkenny. Ireland's Medieval Mile

Sometimes the Medieval walking tour runs in characters & costumes. I took this tour last summer, & it was very good. We were escorted by this medieval knight & met Mr Rothe of Rothe House, Bishop Ledrede, and Dame (witch?) Alice Kyteler. Our Knight was in Big Trouble because he lost his shoes that day!

One of the best ways to discover the gems & hidden histories is to take one of the Medieval walking tours, and during Medieval Week, March 28th – April 6th 2014, they will be lead by costumed actors. I took the tour last year, and it was an interesting & fun way to orient yourself in Kilkenny & learn some history– do try to go!

There are several cool events on for Medieval Week; check out this one where you can meet the pesky Bishop Ledrede  & his nemesis witch Alice Kyteler. It runs Sat 29 March & Sat 5 April at St Mary’s Cathedral, Chapter House Tea Rooms and Kyteler’s Inn:

Dinner with Bishop Ledrede and Dame Alice Kyteler

A chance to meet two of Kilkenny’s most interesting characters! Complimentary drink on arrival at St Mary’s Cathedral, followed by tour of the Cathedral with Bishop Richard Ledrede – in full regalia!  A light bite medieval starter in the Chapter House follows the tour. Bishop Ledrede will then bring our Guests down to Kyteler’s Inn where they will be greeted by Dame Alice who will give them a glass of “Petronella’s Poison” and a little history of her infamous Inn. Main Course will be served – again in keeping with our Medieval Menu. Followed by Dessert. Scroll/Parchment certificates handed out to those who participate.

Booking essential, €17.50 per person (suitable for children)

T: +353 56 7703885   E:


There is plenty more happening on Medieval Week!

Try your hand at glassblowing, the kids can do medieval craft workshops, you can sample medieval cider–  why not check out all the listings county-wide at: . You can also download the Medieval Week brochure with the full events list.


Kilkenny is a fantastic city, and you can check out some of my other posts on Kilkenny here. Please feel free to ask me any Kilkenny questions you may have, and if I can’t answer I’ll do my best to find someone who can. Come visit and enjoy Kilkenny, Ireland!

 These photos are from my Instagram account. Each Thursday, the hashtag #IGtravelthursday shows photos from peoples’ travels all around the world- local travels and far flung. Use the hashtag & join in! If you are a blogger, you can also join in with a blog featuring one of your trips/visits and your Instagram photos from it. Check out the stunning images of Winter in Scandinavia on Satu’s blog!

       Here are the rules for participating:
– Link to a new Instagram travel post and use the permalink of your post, not the homepage URL.
– Only new posts from the week of the linky and no giveaways, other linkys or sales pitch posts.
– Don’t add links to your Instagram profile in the linky, only links to your blog.
– Link back to one of the Instagram Travel Thursday hosts.
– Visit a few other posts in the linky and show them some love (comment, tweet, Pin etc.).
– Links that do not follow the guidelines will be removed.

Read more on the ins & outs of join in here on SkimbacoLifestyle.

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Bia Beag's Meet The Makers food series; Real Bread at Highbank Orchard

Bia Beag’s Meet The Makers series; Real Bread was the 1st talk

Even a vegan loves these Irish cheeses!

Irish artisan cheeses are next up in the Bia Beag series.

Yes, even though he’s a passionate vegan, Keith Bohanna is a champion of these lovingly made artisan food products. He’s organized one of the most interesting & best value evenings around; Bia Beag’s ‘Meet the Makers‘ food talks, and Irish artisan cheeses feature on Saturday 5 April, with 3 award winning producers:

Siobhan Ni Ghairbhith – St Tola: Irish Organic Goat Cheese, Co Clare

Helen Finnegan – Knockdrinna Cheese, Co Kilkenny

Tom Burgess – Coolattin Cheddar: Mature Raw Milk Cheddar, Co Carlow

For just €5 you’ll get to enjoy the makers sharing their stories, their tips, and their cheeses! Yes, there will be samples :-DI know that Keith will be salivating from the smells, but he’s a very committed as a vegan & I don’t think he’ll crack. But seeing if he gives in to the temptation could be part of the fun. (Tee hee… sorry, Keith!)


 Highbank Irish Medieval Cider

Yummy Highbank cider! There’s a non-alchoholic one for Drivers, too

Terry & I attended the first in this Bia Beag ‘Meet the Makers’ series, which was on real bread— it was a fantastic 2 hours; the speakers & breads were wonderful. Terry was so inspired he went home & baked that very night! While I’m not sure you’ll go home on the 5th of April and milk your goat/cow to make your own cheese, I’m pretty sure you will at least be inspired to try new cheeses. As well as the samples, the cheesemakers will bring some cheeses you can buy, and as the event is held at Highbank Orchard, you’ll also be able to sample & buy Apple cider & syrup products before the talks if you’d like. We had the Irish Medieval Cider– mmmm!


Some details on Meet the Cheese Makers:

Date: Saturday 5th April 2014
Time: 6pm, for about 2 hours

Location: Highbank Orchard  and you can Click here for a map showing the entrance to Highbank.

Click here to purchase tickets – €5 each – NOTE They sell out quickly, so don’t wait

Also, I know Helen at Knockdrinna cheese does cheese making courses, so if you are inspired to try making for yourself, do check them out.

Read more on the cheesemakers and the Bia Beag talks series on Bia Beag