For many years, there wasn’t a lot happening in Kilkenny over St Patrick’s weekend, aside from the usual community parades across the City and County. Enter Kilkenny Tradfest – the festival that has transformed Paddy’s weekend in Kilkenny into one of the best weekends to visit to Marble City.

St Patrick’s weekend in Kilkenny is now a hive of activity with gigs, community events, exhibitions and , of course, that great Kilkenny festival atmosphere which makes for a great weekend away.

Here, we have put together our 5 top picks for the must-dos in Kilkenny this Paddy’s Weekend.

Vintage Fairground on The Parade

This is a great one for the littlies and the young at heart! The classic Vintage Fairground is truly a sight to behold and features a gorgeous carousel, helter-skelter, children’s chair-o-planes, mini train and fun stalls. It runs from 11am – 6pm on Friday – Sunday of St, Patrick’s Weekend.


John Spillane on the Festival Stage

A native of Cork, John Spillane’s music is instantly recognizable. He is one of the most accomplished songwriters in Ireland today. Not only can you catch John Spillane in concert this St Patrick’s Day – but it is a FREE concert at 3pm. He will take to the stage to perform songs from his ‘Irish Songs We Learned at School’ album – so there will be a great bit of nostalgia and I’m sure there will be plenty of people singing along.


Open Day at James Stephens Barracks Museum Open Day

Visit the cultural heritage and architecture of this Georgian built barracks located in historic Kilkenny City. The museum contains memorabilia from Kilkenny’s military and heritage past, some of these important items include medals, uniforms, weapons and personal items. The Barracks Museum will be open with free entry from 11am – 4pm on Friday 17th March.


Live Music from Beoga

Described by The Wall Street Journal at “the most exciting new traditional band to emerge from Ireland this century”, Beoga are truly a band you must see live and you can do so for FREE at Paris Text on Thursday, 16th March at 10pm.

Their unique sound features the twin duelling accordions of Damian McKee and multi-instrumentalist Seán Óg Graham, pianist Liam Bradley and four times All-Ireland bodhrán champion Eamon Murray, and the line-up is completed with Niamh Dunne, on vocals and fiddle. Most recently, they were asked to accompany Ed Sheeran on his latest album, Divide.


Bulmers Music Trail

We’ve mentioned a few music gigs already – but I just couldn’t mention Patrick’s weekend without talking about the Bulmers Music Trail. The Music Trail basically provides a jam-packed calendar of FREE gigs all over Kilkenny City for the full weekend. It doesn’t get any better than that!

Check out the full gig guide here