30 Jun 2022

Exciting full programme for Kilkenny Arts Festival 2022 revealed

Eleven days of artistic adventures in Ireland’s Medieval city


The Carducci String Quartet

After two years of adapted festivals, Kilkenny Arts Festival Director Olga Barry has unveiled the 2022 programme designed to connect audiences once again with artists that invigorate, intrigue and inspire.

The festival runs for 11 days from August 4-14. Live music is back in force alongside exciting theatre, dance, opera and literary events which includes a number of festival commissions and co-productions. Over 11 days, more than 100 performances will take place in Kilkenny’s most iconic and beautiful spaces across the Marble City.

“It’s a real thrill to announce a full programme of events for the 49th Edition of Kilkenny Arts Festival," said Olga Barry.

"We’re very excited to welcome back full audiences to experience all these things we love about Kilkenny in August and looking forward to that special Marble City magic!”

Kilkenny Arts Festival returns to a full programme of music featuring Anne Sofie von Otter, Brooklyn Rider, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Irish Baroque Orchestra, Chamber Choir Ireland, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Carducci String Quartet, Malcolm Proud, Ailish Tynan, Tara Erraught, the Rollercoaster Sessions, Secret Garden Music, the Marble City Sessions with co-curator Martin Hayes and much more.

Deirdre Gribbin’s new song cycle is premiered by Sharon Carty and ICO, while poet in residence Theo Dorgan and Colm Mac Con Iomaire bring their ambitious new bilingual work to the Watergate Theatre and Paula Meehan performs her response to Joyce’s Ulysses in the centenary year of its publication.

Audiences can look forward to a new production of Handel’s Semele with Opera Collective Ireland, directed by Patrick Mason and Rough Magic bring their special alchemy to the Parklands of Kilkenny Castle for a new production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest directed by Lynne Parker. Eszter Némethi’s Speak Like No One in Particular will challenge audiences to explore the ways in which we ‘other’ each other, and in Callan we get a peek at the development of The Local, a major new site-sensitive play from Asylum Productions, coming in 2023.

Irish National Opera returns to Kilkenny to premiere a virtual reality opera, Out of the Ordinary, directed by Jo Mangan; and Luke Murphy/Attic Projects see the River Nore become the stage for their new work, Slow Tide. Always a hit with Kilkenny audiences, thrilling aerialists Loosysmokes bring their new show In Rhythms to an atmospheric warehouse in Callan.

With Butler Gallery, Kilkenny Arts Festival presents a set of intriguing retrospective multimedia works from Kevin Atherton, and the Festival Gallery hosts an exhibition by the young artist Stephen Doyle whose work explores queer identity. Masha Gessen – who has written extensively on Russia, autocracy, LGBTQ+ rights, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, amongst others – delivers the 2022 Hubert Butler Lecture, and the Hubert Butler Essay Prize is presented mid-festival amidst an exciting line-up of talks and readings at the Parade Tower.

Ciara Sugrue, Head of Festivals at Fáilte Ireland said: “Fáilte Ireland is pleased to support this year’s Kilkenny Arts Festival as it returns at full scale to County Kilkenny. Festivals such as this are a brilliant opportunity for visitors to experience what Ireland’s arts, heritage and culture have to offer as well as the best of Kilkenny and Ireland’s Ancient East. Festivals and Events are a key component of Ireland’s tourism offering and they provide unique and compelling reasons for a visitor to choose a destination. They also have the ability to drive footfall for local businesses, supporting jobs and revenue generation. Festivals such as the Kilkenny Arts Festival play an important role in the recovery of the tourism sector for the county and its surrounding areas.”

Tickets are on sale now from

Some of the programme highlights in more detail:

  • Rough Magic and Kilkenny Arts Festival join forces once more to present a new take on Shakespeare’s classic – The Tempest in the magical grounds of Kilkenny Castle Parklands. Cast Directed by Lynne Parker and featuring Martha Breen, Gillian Buckle, John Cronin, Rowan Finken, Rory Nolan, Eleanor Methven, Gina Moxley, Arthur Riordan and Ankur Vikal;

  • The world’s first Virtual Reality Community Opera, Out of the Ordinary/As an nGnách from Irish National Opera. This immersive experience enables audiences to become the character Nalva as she flees her barren homeland in this tale which challenges our scorch-and-burn approach to living in this world;

  • Opera Collective Ireland and Kilkenny Arts Festival present Handel’s masterpiece Semele with Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin in partnership with dynamic choral ensemble Sestina. One of the richest and most compelling of all Handel operas, Semele sees the return of the creative team behind the critically acclaimed production of Monteverdi’s The Return of Ulysses and a star-studded cast that includes Kelli-Ann Masterson, Jade Phoenix, Andrew Gavin, Dominica Williams, Gerben Van der Werf and Edward Hawkins;

  • The acclaimed Carducci String Quartet will perform one of the great cycles ever written for the string quartet, Shostakovich’s 15 Quartets to be performed over six days in St John’s Priory;

  • One of the world’s premier period ensembles Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin present a rich programme featuring the music of ‘Handel and Friends’ which will showcase the vibrant music scene of Baroque London;

  • Bell X1 join forces with genre-hopping Dowry Strings to reimagine their sounds, creating fresh new arrangements that set each song against a backdrop of lush, gorgeous strings in St Canice’s Cathedral. 


  • The Irish Baroque Orchestra and Tara Erraught come to Kilkenny to perform songs and arias associated with legendary singer Giusto Tenducci at St Canice’s Cathedral.

  •  Malcolm Proud returns to Kilkenny Arts Festival to perform Bach’s complete masterwork The Well-tempered Clavier, Book I over two unmissable concerts in St John’s Priory.

  • Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh and the Irish Chamber Orchestra will finally perform to live audiences Róisín ReImagined, a stunning collaboration co-commissioned by the ICO and Kilkenny Arts Festival. Featuring Nic Amhlaoibh, musician and producer Dónal O’Connor, Irish Chamber Orchestra, and six composer/arrangers; Cormac McCarthy, Paul Campbell, Linda Buckley, Sam Perkin, Niamh Varian-Barry, and Michael Keeney – Róisín ReImagined breathes a whole new life in to the Sean Nós repertoire.


  • Renowned Mezzo-Soprano Ailish Tynan returns to Kilkenny Arts Festival for a special Opera Gala night with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of conductor Stephen Barlow, performing a selection of some of the best-loved repertoire from Mozart, Puccini, Lehár, Verdi and more. The ICO will also perform with the acclaimed Sharon Carty in a programme which pairs Shostakovich’s hauntingly powerful Symphony in C minor with a specially commissioned new work by Deirdre Gribbin, one of Ireland’s leading contemporary composers.


  • Ireland’s flagship choral ensemble Chamber Choir Ireland, led by Paul Hillier, returns to Kilkenny Arts Festival for a performance of Tchaikovsky's sublime large-scale work, the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.


  • Grammy Award winning violinist Johnny Gandelsman returns to Kilkenny to perform his unique version of the complete set of Bach’s cello suites.


  • The Marble City Sessions are back bringing together artists from across the globe who collaborate and create unforgettable musical experiences together featuring Ye Vagabonds, Maya Youssef, Martin Hayes and the Common Ground Ensemble, Cormac McCarthy with Nell Ní Chróinín and Aoife Ní Bhriain and Kate Ellis.


The festival also includes performances from Clang Slayne, Toucan, and special performance of the music of Linda Buckley with Crash Ensemble Liam Byrne and Fiona Kelleher including the premiere of a new work comissioned by the KAF and Crash Ensemble.

The 2022 Kilkenny Arts Festival Poet-in-Residence will be Theo Dorgan. The centrepiece of this residency is an eagerly anticipated collaboration, specially commissioned by KAF, which sees Theo Dorgan joins forces with Colm Mac Con Iomaire for a thrilling new work, Ériu and Amergín, which transforms the story of how poetry in Ireland began. Written in English and Irish, the work is spoken by actors Aaron Monaghan and Bríd Ní Neachtain.  

Stephen Rea will host Saíocht: a celebration of Ireland’s leading poets and Irish traditional musicians featuring poets Emily Cullen and Gabriel Rosenstock with acclaimed traditional Irish musicians Louise and Michelle Mulcahy and Neil Martin.

As part of the Ulysses 2.2 year-long celebration of the book where artists respond to one of the 18 episodes, explore Paula Meehan’s new poetry responding to episode 6 - an intimate performance in collaboration with master musician David Power.  

Butler Gallery in partnership with Kilkenny Arts Festival welcomes Kevin Atherton. Known for performance and new media in cultural contexts, these three video installations and an object-based work all involve revisiting an older work and his ongoing interest in the relationship between the real and the imagined. 

At the KAF Gallery in St Kieran’s College, Stephen Doyle explores issues of queer identity through the relationship between figuration and the politics of representation. 

Crash ensemble commissioned video artist and filmmaker Jack Phelan to create an installation responding to the work of Irish composer Barry O’Halpin’s Wingform, a ground-breaking four movements work for solo guitar and ensemble. 

With Kilkenny Arts office, curator Sinéad Keogh celebrates older female artists in spaces of historic prominence and power in Kilkenny in an exhibition entitled Matriarch.

Kilkenny Arts Festival is grateful for the continued support from funders, particularly its principal funder, the Arts Council; Kilkenny County Council, as well as Fáilte Ireland.

Keep updated at  

Facebook / twitter: @KilkennyArts

Instagram / Youtube: KilkennyArtsFestival

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