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Kilkenny Activities & Events

There is always something going on here in Kilkenny, and as we're right in the heart of the arts culture of this great city, so it only seems fitting to share with you some of our favourite events in and around the local area. We're one of the closest hotels to Kilkenny Castle and just off High Street, so no matter what you're planning to do with your time here in Ireland's Ancient East, start it at Pembroke Kilkenny.

Four days of festival fun lands in Kilkenny this March!


During the St. Patrick’s Festival, the city and county come alive with pageantry, craic agus ceol. Enjoy free events, workshops, and performances, and the main event – The St. Patrick’s Day Parade. 


The St. Patrick’s Festival Kilkenny takes place alongside Kilkenny Tradfest. A traditional music festival with gigs from some of the best Irish Musicians. There is no better place to be and no better way to experience a real St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland! 


At Pembroke Kilkenny, we are excited to host the legendary Shaskeen group with Katie Theasby. Don't miss them on Sat 16 March, 7pm. 
Having been formed in London in 1970, they have released fifteen albums in that time and have featured some of the best-known names in traditional music over the more than half a century of their time on the road. The band is led by Tom Cussen, along with fellow Clare musicians Eamonn and Clare Cotter, Mary Liddy and Dave Sanders. Connemara box player Patsy McDonagh and Mayo bodhrán player, Johnny Donnellan are joined by London native and Clare-based singer, Katie Theasby, who has been singing on the Irish and English folk scene for decades, including an appearance at Glastonbury festival at just fourteen years of age.

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Since 1998 the festival has attracted some of the finest names in the Americana/Roots canon, including Calexico, Giant Sand, Drive-By Truckers, Jason Isbell, Alejandro Escovedo, Guy Clark, Chuck Prophet, Ray LaMontagne, Richmond Fontaine, Rodney Crowell, Phosphorescent, Sturgill Simpson and Alabama Shakes.


Audiences wind their way through the medieval streets sampling the huge range of music in the 30 plus venues, hosting over 40 Irish and international acts, with over 90 ticketed and free shows from early afternoon until late into the night.
There’s a mixture of old and new acts on the free pub gig trail and all styles are catered for, from swing to bluegrass, rockabilly to cajun, folk, blues and beyond.

Join us at Pembroke Kilkenny for "Conversation & Song With Dan Stuart & Allan Jones" on 5th May. 

Dan Stuart is a musician and author who was the leader of Green on Red, a band associated with both LA’s Paisley Underground of the 1980’s and the beginnng of the so-called Americana movement. His book The Deliverance of Marlowe Billings was published in 2014 to critical acclaim, followed up with The Unfortunate Demise of Marlowe Billings in 2018. Dan has released over 15 albums between Green on Red and his solo years. He joins Allan Jones, award-winning British music journalist and former editor of Melody Maker and Uncut magazine. His book, Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down, was the Sunday Times‘ Music Book of the Year 2017.

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Celebrating 30 years in 2024, the festival has played host over the years to international and domestic world-class comedy and is renowned for treating both talent and audience to a warm, welcoming and convivial atmosphere in Kilkenny, at the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East. Cat Laughs has a reputation for being the comedians’ comedy festival, and for creating an atmosphere where anything can happen. Over the years the festival has nurtured the fledgling careers of Irish acts like Dara Ó Briain, Aisling Bea, Graham Norton, Dylan Moran, Maeve Higgins, Ardal O’Hanlon, Joanne McNally, Deirdre O’Kane, David O’Doherty, Des Bishop and many, many more. We have also welcomed international luminaries like Bill Murray, Zach Galifianakis, Laura Kightlinger, Bill Burr, George Wendt, Ross Noble, Peter Kay, Bill Bailey, Tig Notaro, Emo Philips and Sarah Millican among others. 

Join us at Pembroke Kilkenny for Chris Kent & Friends on Friday 31st May, 6pm and Saturday 1st June, 6pm.

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Since its foundation in 1974, Kilkenny Arts Festival has gathered many of the world’s finest musicians, performers, writers and artists in Ireland’s medieval city. For ten days each August, the city’s historic churches, castle, courtyards, townhouses and gardens offer a magical setting for unique collaborations and intimate encounters between audiences and artists. 

From outdoor theatre to contemporary dance, the Festival is dedicated to staging events of the highest calibre, thrilling audiences of all kinds. Classical music has been at the core of the Festival from the very beginning. 

In recent years the Festival has enriched its programme with major new initiatives like The Marble City Sessions, a cross-genre series of unique musical collaborations, hosted and co-curated by the great Irish fiddle-player and artist-in-residence Martin Hayes. 

In recent years the position of poet-in-residence has been graced by everyone from Paula Meehan and the late Eavan Boland to former US laureates Billy Collins and Robert Pinsky.

Each year the Hubert Butler Lecture series, delivered by illustrious critics and thinkers including Lara Marlowe, John Gray, Masha Gessen and Samantha Power, brings the pressing issues of our time into focus before rapt audiences in the spectacular St Canice’s Cathedral, one of Ireland’s most magnificent churches, which also plays host to a series of unforgettable concerts each year. Indeed, Kilkenny boasts many of Ireland’s loveliest historic spaces, including Rothe House, the Black Abbey and the Castle Yard, which has hosted dazzling theatrical productions by the likes of Rough Magic, Shakespeare’s Globe and Druid Theatre.

Few festivals can boast such a wealth of venues, and the Festival is constantly devising unique events tailored to the city’s extraordinary spaces.

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Aro Summer Escape Pop Up(1) Summer Escape to Kilkenny

Summer Escape to Kilkenny

Say goodbye to routine and hello to sunshine, adventure and relaxation! Book now for 20th, 27th, 28th May & 10th, 11th, 17th June