Glen Hansard, Delcan O’Rourke add Irish element to Kilkenny Arts Festival’s music programme

The 2018 festival programme was launched today, running 9-19 August

Glen Hansard and Declan O’Rourke will be taking to the stage during this year’s Kilkenny Arts Festival.

They’re just two standout Irish names adding a varied element to the classical-driven festival taking place in Kilkenny from 9-19 August this year.

O’Rourke appears for a solo show at Set Theatre on Friday 10 August, while Hansard appears under the established Marble City Sessions banner in the same venue the following Saturday (18th).

Neither are strangers to Kilkenny, O’Rourke having split his time between Ballykeffe Amphitheatre and Set in recent years while Hansard’s last visit (for performance) was likely his duet with Bruce Springsteen in Nowlan Park back in 2013.

There’s variety in the music

The music programme in general is quite diverse for what is festival director Eugene Downes’ last roll of the dice.

There’s ten days of the chamber music masterpieces of Johannes Brahms; a three-concert series with the Irish Chamber Orchestra; mesmeric collaborations through the Marble City Sessions with Martin Hayes; there’s a healthy helping of jazz-fueled nights for The Sofa Sessions at Billy Byrne’s (and Set) and a glowing tribute night to the late Willie Meighan.

Also heading for Set Theatre on the opening weekend of the festival is are Ailbhe Reddy and Marc O’Reilly. Respectively, their singles Distrust and Bleed have drawn great acclaim for both songwriters and performers.

The Sofa Sessions, programmed by Kilkenny’s own Cormac Larkin, welcomes the likes of the Chris Guilfoyle Organ Trio, Oxegen Thief, Nils Wogram, John O’Gallagher and more to Billy Byrnes for a mix of free and ticketed gigs.

‘Sexy, wild and dangerous’, Camille O’Sullivan plays a seated show isn Set on Friday 17 August with all the music nights leading up to a big festival finale hosted by Martin Hayes.

Taking place on Sunday 19 August, that will see Martin Hayes along with fellow Gloaming members Dennis Cahill and Iarla Ó Lionáird join Doug Wieselman, Liz Knowles, actor Stephen Rea, Liam Byrne, fiddler Cleek Schrey and plenty more besides for a blow-out performance in St. Canice’s Cathedral.

Full details of the music programme and tickets for each show can be found online at

Bonus for under 25s

If you’re under the age of 25 and fancy getting to gigs that little bit cheaper (don’t we all), you’re in luck. This year the festival are introducing special €10 tickets, for every event, for under 25s.

There’s only a limited number of €10 tickets for each event though and they’ll be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.


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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