Kinsale Arts Weekend’s programme calls out to us like the lure of the sea, with a culture soaked programme for all the senses. 

Kinsale Arts Weekend (11-14 July 2024) officially launched its full programme today. Kinsale Arts Weekend (KAW) has earned its place as a firm favourite in the arts and culture calendar, and this programme secures that position as a pusher of boundaries, and a platform for established and emerging high quality artists. With a universal theme of ‘The Allure of the Sea’ or Mealladh na Mara in the Irish language, this landmark festival is sure to draw in a crowd again this year. Kinsale has a history and culture
that is so connected to the sea. The power of the sea draws us in, brings us joy, brings us adventure, brings us sustenance, brings us to where we want to be but she is also a powerful force that cannot be controlled. As an island nation we have a strong relationship with the sea, she holds our fears, our sense of wonder and our stories and folklore. This year’s theme has inspired a wave of creativity in the artists that responded to the call of the sea.

KAW turns the seaside town into a stage for the festival weekend with performances, experiences, readings, theatre, screenings, concerts and exhibitions appearing across the vibrant town. A performance can appear anywhere from a former church to a bookshop, a library to a distillery. Expect to hear the call of a sea siren, learn about how whales can save the planet, be the inspiration for a comedy sketch, follow an art trail, a sewer map, a troupe of dancers, step on board a fishing boat, and so much more. The programme connects visitors to the sea and to Irish culture, and it also looks forward with a focus on sustainability and our future.

The festival is delighted to welcome sean-nós style vocalist, Iarla O Lionáird who embodies the atmospheric theme of the festival. He will perform with Cormac McCarthy and Matthew Berrill. The incredible sounds of Loah will fill St Catherine’s cultural centre on the 13th July when the Irish /Sierra Leonean singer songwriter will perform her unique blend of Afro- folk soul.

With over 50 events, the festival is truly an immersive experience and feast for all the senses. Saturday afternoon will see the Irish premiere of Our Blue World followed by a discussion with Dr Tara Shine, science and policy advisor and inspiring environmental activist. For a different level of audience participation you can follow 12 dancers through the streets of Kinsale as they Dance to the Edge of the Sea. Audience members can join Fishing for a Living, a unique insight into life onboard the Naomh Peadar 11 – one of Kinsale’s local fishing trawlers.. Booker Prize nominee Audrey McGee will read from her novel, the Colony and will share some fascinating interpretations of the key characters whose lives and experiences have been shaped by their dependence and proximity to the sea. Experience the joy of being immersed in the Irish language and culture at a Pop up Gaeltacht, or at a screening of the ‘Song of the Sea’. Explore nautical charts as you’ve never seen them with Bobby Nash or follow the map of The Sea Starts Here to remind yourself of our connection and duty of care to marine life. Theatre lovers are sure to get caught up in the nets of the wonderful stories cast by the actors in Ashes to Ashes, Future Proofing and the Bold Ensemble’s improv theatre. Be inspired by a Life Drawing Workshop with Mermaids and get a rare glimpse behind the curtain at Joseph Walsh Design Studios. With so much to enjoy, the festival offers something for everyone.

Chairperson of Kinsale Arts Weekend, Anna Mulcahy says “We are so proud of this year’s programme. The artists have truly answered the call of the sea. I am excited to see the audiences & responses to this inspired and inspiring programme. While the name Kinsale is known across the world, we are, at our core, a small coastal community with a global outlook. The sea inspired that world-view and it now inspires a culture of creativity. This festival draws in well-known artists and provides a launch pad for those who are starting
out.

We could not achieve what we do alone, this festival is a collaboration of businesses, volunteers, artists and sponsors.”

The festival runs from 11-14 July, tickets and full programme are available on Kinsaleartsweekend.com.