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Vibrant Ireland

7 of the Most Vibrant Events to see at Kilkenny Arts Festival 2014

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.


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