Check out the headliners for Kilkenny TradFest 2018

Kilkenny will be buzzing 16-19 March.

Kilkenny TradFest 2018 is upon us.

The annual music programme as part of Kilkenny’s 2018 St. Patrick’s week festivities was launched last week with a packed lineup. The Henry Girls, Moxie, Scullion and more will take to stages around the city over 16-19 March.

The Bulmers Music Trail is back with over 60 free gigs with masterclasses and workshops also taking place over the weekend.

The key for Kilkenny Tradfest 2018, as always, is in the headliners.

Kilkenny Tradfest 2018: The Headliners

Here’s a look at some of the big gigs on offer, primarily ticketed across the weekend. Tickets are available from

Finbar Furey


The man is one of Ireland’s most successful and highly regarded artists. Furey has left his mark on the music of Ireland for more than four decades as the lead singer and uilleann pipes player for the Fureys.

Plays Friday 16 March, 7pm at St. Canice’s Cathedral.


Think music with a solid traditional backbone with a touch of progressive, world and jazz.

Plays 16 March, 7.30pm at Set Theatre.

The Bonny Men

The Bonny Men
The Bonny Men

One of the hottest tickets in Irish music, The Bonny Men have been blazing a trail at festivals across Ireland and Europe. “The Bonny Men create a dynamic sound that captures the essence of traditional music at it’s best” – Bosca Ceoil, TG4

Ye Vagabonds

Brothers Brían and Diarmuid Mac Gloinn, released their first album in 2017. ‘Ye Vagabonds’ was hailed as a ‘sparkling debut’ by the Irish Times, while the Sunday Times says “there is something charming about this album that makes it entirely their own. Originally from Carlow, now Dublin-based.

Playing Friday 16 March, 9.30pm at Cleere’s Theatre.


A high-octane fusion of Irish traditional music, world rhythms and cutting-edge dance grooves – a massive hit with festival audiences across the globe.

Playing St. Patrick’s Night at Set Theatre, 7.30pm.

Caladh Nua

Caladh Nua are a tightly-knit, vibrant and staggeringly talented band with origins deeply rooted in the Southern counties of Ireland.

Playing Kyteler’s Inn, St. Patrick’s Day at 10pm.

Scullion (followed by Trad Disco)

A chance meeting of Philip King and Sonny Condell in the 1970s gave birth to Scullion. The band has been on a musical expedition since then having played everywhere from back rooms to the great Albert Hall.

Playing Kyteler’s Inn, Sunday 18 March at 10pm.

Brian Kennedy

A household name for many years, Brian Kennedy makes a welcome return to Kilkenny and to the Watergate Theatre for an intimate show.

Playing Sunday 18 March, 7.30pm at the Watergate Theatre.

Máirtín O’Connor, Zoe Conway & Dónal Lunny

Donal Lunny, Zoe Conway, Mairtin O'Connor
Donal Lunny, Zoe Conway, Mairtin O’Connor

Three of Ireland’s finest musicians, Máirtín O’Connor (right), Zoë Conway (centre) and Dónal Lunny (left) return to Kilkenny TradFest 2018 having played to audiences across the globe on tour.

The Remedy Club

The Remedy Club
The Remedy Club

Irish Americana/Roots duo KJ McEvoy and Aileen Mythen are delighted to be returning to Irish shores for Kilkenny Tradfest.

Playing Sunday 18 March, 9.30pm at Cleere’s Theatre.


“Forward-looking, stylistically adventuresome and musically well executed, it challenges received notions of Irish traditional music purity….” New York Echo

Playing a free show at Paris Texas, Sunday 18 March at 9.30pm.

The Henry Girls

Sisters Karen, Lorna and Joleen McLaughlin, collectively known as Donegal’s The Henry Girls, make music that will give you goosebumps. Their harmonising, lilting, and melting voices imbue the music with overwhelming romanticism, with an edge with Americana and bluegrass sounds.

Thursday night gets the festival off to an emotional start with ‘Trad For Willie’ at Ryan’s on Friary Street. Celebrating the life of the one man army that was Willie Meighan, tunes get underway in from 9pm. Whiskers of Lichen, along with friends of Willie’s from right across the local music scene provide the tunes.

Get the full programme for Kilkenny Tradfest 2018 at


Ken McGuire

The one who kicked off back in the heady days of 2005. Now a radio head at KCLR, award-winning podcaster, producer, food blogger at Ken On Food, music nerd and everything else in between.

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