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St. Patrick’s Day Kilkenny: Irish music, culture and creativity with a big festival in a small City

St. Patrick’s Day Kilkenny: Irish music, culture and creativity with a big festival in a small City

During St. Patrick’s Day Kilkenny, the city and county will come alive with pageantry, craic and music.

Centred around the parade but stretching into nearly a weeklong event visitors can enjoy the thrill of American Marching Bands, a parade of local colour, creative workshops for all ages and the best in live Irish music. All in a small intimate City that’ll make you feel right at home.

The 2023 festival is a 5-day event beginning on March 15th. Kicking off on Wednesday with the biggest of the American marching band performances, Purdue “All-American” Marching band from Indiana and Mountain West Conference All-Star Band.

St. Patrick’s Day Kilkenny: Irish music, culture and creativity with a big festival in a small City

Thursday sees the opening of the Festival Market, the Big Wheel and the Vintage Carousel on The Parade, Kilkenny City and ends with fiery family entertainment on John’s Quay.

St. Patrick’s Day features the main event, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and a whole host of performances, street entertainment and fun for all ages across the City.

Including live music on the festival stage, festivities in Kilkenny Castle Park, and interactive family shows. On Saturday there are more marching bands, family shows and street entertainment, alongside the carnival rides, festival market and Céilí, with festival favourite fireworks sending celebrations into the night.

The festival concludes on March 19th and the main action will be on The Parade in Kilkenny City, alongside a hurling match in UPMC Nowlan Park and a Duck race on the river Nore.

Highlights of this year’s festival include:

Purdue “All American” Marching Band

Travelling all the way from Indiana, USA the Purdue marching band are returning to Kilkenny for the St. Patrick’s Festival Kilkenny 2023, having visited in 2013. The 400-strong band will parade through the streets of Kilkenny on Wednesday the 15th of March. This will be followed by a performance by another American marching band Mountain West Conference All-Star, in Kilkenny Castle Park.

Everyone in Kilkenny is encouraged to come out and welcome the visitors and enjoy this unique spectacle through the medieval streets of Kilkenny!

St. Patrick’s Day Parade Kilkenny

The centre of the 5-day festival the St. Patrick’s Day Parade will take place on March 17th at 1.30pm. Weaving stories through the streets of Kilkenny, through the Legends and Stories theme, local community groups, street entertainers, marching bands, drummers and pageants will entertain the crowds with their own tales for the traditional St. Patrick’s Day event.

The Parade route will go from John Street to Rose Inn Street, The Parade (Review stand), High Street, and finish at the Market Yard. Line the streets and enjoy the pageantry, music and spectacle.

Before and after the Parade the streets of Kilkenny will be full of lively entertainment and activity with live music performances on the Festival Stage, food and crafts at the Festival Market, Street Entertainment and interactive shows for all the family, carnival rides and special events in Kilkenny Castle Park.

Castle Park Festivities

Kilkenny Castle is a cultural landmark and Kilkenny Castle Park is an active place of recreation for the whole county. This St. Patrick’s Day the Castle Park will be hosting a day full of festivities for all the family. Visitors can travel through time with Vintage Car displays and Viking reenactments. Enjoy family-friendly street entertainment or play dress up for the perfect picture.

Creating an ideal momento of the day. Kilkenny Castle Park events are taking place throughout St. Patrick’s day beginning at 11am so it’s a great pre and post-parade activity or a quieter way to spend the afternoon if Parade crowds are not your thing!

Fireworks Display

See the skies of Kilkenny light up in this celebratory Saturday night event. Ticket holders get a prime viewing spot in Kilkenny Castle Park, in the heart of Kilkenny’s medieval city.

Spectators can expect 9-10 minutes of truly spectacular fireworks creating art in the sky with vibrant colours and magical effects. Including pre-show entertainment and a backdrop of Kilkenny Castle it will be a visual aerial feast for all to enjoy!

Tickets cost €3 | €12 family (4) + booking fee available online.


A spectacular nighttime Fire Show from Alchemy Arts suitable for the entire family.

Fireflame features one of Ireland’s foremost Fire Performers in an intimate setting, with a fully choreographed performance that includes acts with Fire Staffs, Fire Juggling, Fire Balancing, a Dragon Staff and two large Fire Bursts.

Taking place outdoors in front of the mural on John’s Quay. This show is performed in an atmospheric ring of Braziers & Lanterns with a unique soundtrack and is not to be missed!


In association with Craobh Osraí Marble City and Kilkenny Tradfest, this year’s Céilí will take place in the River Court Hotel Kilkenny on Saturday the 18th of March 2023. With music by the Tulla Céilí band from Co. Clare.

The Tulla Céilí Band was founded in 1946 at Minogue’s Bar in Tulla, County Clare, in order to compete at the Limerick Fleadh Cheoil. Over the years the band have won many first-prize places and in 1958, delivered a memorable performance at Carnegie Hall, New York on St. Patrick’s Day. Over sixty years on, musicians have come and gone but the continued popularity of the Tulla Céilí Band has remained strong.

Entry costs €10 | Available online or at the door

Festival Stage on St. Patrick’s Day

Post-Parade entertainment on the Festival stage with Celtic drummers the Hit Machine at 3pm and local traditional musicians Reel to Reel at 4pm. An outdoor free event at the bottom of Patrick Street in Kilkenny on Friday, March 17th.

Powerful Celtic Drummers, clad in black kilts. The most energetic, raw, and hardworking group of drummers in Ireland. The Hit Machine Drummers have been entertaining the masses since 2013. Getting bigger, better, faster and louder from day 1. Expect jaw-dropping choreography and toe-tapping grooves.

Reel to Reel was formed in Kilkenny over 30 years ago, comprised now of some of the original members and some new fresh talent. The band features uilleann pipes, bass guitar, piano, bouzouki, drums, double bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, accordion, fiddle and vocals. Reel to Reel has always pushed the boundaries and added the best of national and international influences to Irish Trad.

Kilkenny Tradfest

St. Patrick’s Day Kilkenny takes place alongside Kilkenny Tradfest. A traditional Irish music festival with gigs by top Irish musicians, including Stockton’s Wing, Lisa Lambe, Tulla Céilí Band, Kilfenora Céilí Band, Emma Langford, Tulua and 90 free sessions on the Bulmer’s Music Trail.


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