Kilkenny festival goes cosmopolitan


One of the biggest, oldest and most diverse arts festivals in Ireland opens today.

More than 300 national and international artists and 200 local volunteers are putting together the final touches to bring Kilkenny Arts Festival to life for the next 10 days.

Featuring more than 100 events, the festival will also bring around €8 million to the local economy.

The Ulster Orchestra, jazz and blues ensemble Mingus Dynasty, children's events, and visual arts are among the programme of events.

Highlights also include the international premieres of A Prelude To A Death In Veniceby New York avant-garde theatre company Mabou Mines and This Dancing Lifeby dance legend Sara Rudner.

Irish-American political thinker Samantha Power will be giving the inaugural Hubert Butler lecture, talking about her experiences reporting from Darfur, while organisers plan to screen highlights of the 1957 All Ireland Hurling Championship between Waterford and Kilkenny.

"Festivals such as the Kilkenny Arts Festival are a very important part of the Irish tourism product while also affording an opportunity for local people to enjoy the benefits," said Gary Breen of Fáilte Ireland.