PAN CELTIC INTL FESTIVAL 2024 - Carlow Tourism


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April 2 - April 6

Pan Celtic Festival

About the Event:

The International Pan Celtic Festival is coming to Carlow and the entire community is looking forward to the kick off on Tuesday, 2nd April. The flags are flying, the bunting and banners are hanging, accommodation is at capacity and the town is ready for a whole five days and nights of fun, friendship, sharing and celebration from 2nd to 6th April.

A massive programme of some 200 official and fringe events mostly free of charge has been prepared by the organising committee to celebrate this the 50th Pan Celtic festival with lots of music, dance, concerts, choirs, exhibitions, the festival parade, StreetFest, the Garda Band, the Kilfenora Céilí Band, live music@The Exchange, busking and lots lots more.

Pan Celtic is an annual gathering of the Celts at Easter time to celebrate and share the rich heritage, culture and language of the participating nations through music, song, dance, storytelling, poetry, sport, craft, art and friendship. This is the 6th time that Carlow has the honour of hosting the prestigious festival. Hundreds of overseas visitors are expected in Carlow over the 5 days travelling by coach, ferry and plane from Wales, Scotland, Brittany, Cornwall and The Isle of Man as well as numerous domestic visitors from across Ireland.

Pan Celtic ’24 will kick off on Tuesday, 2 April with the Official Launch & Opening Concert from 7pm in Visual and the GB Shaw Theatre. A limited amount of seating is available in the theatre at €10 from but to cater for everybody the proceedings will be beamed live to the overflow attendance in the bar area and will also be streamed live on The concert will feature an eclectic mix of items showcasing the best of the cultures of the six participating nations in music, song and dance while The Mezz@ Dinn Rí will be the venue later that evening at 9pm for the Opening Trad Session of the festival.

Coming up with the kind of budget required to fund a festival as broad as Pan Celtic and particularly on two consecutive years has been challenging according to Bríde de Róiste of the organising committee. “Carlow Co. Council and the Local Enterprise Office are main funders of Pan Celtic ‘24 while the support of NUA Glenveagh Company brings a welcome addition to the coffers” said Bríde. Continuing she said “We are especially grateful to those elected members of Carlow Municipal District who have come on board to generously support this year’s festival while other sponsors include Foras na Gaeilge, Plazamont Ltd and an tOireachtas”.

Amongst the highlights of the main official Pan Celtic programme will be the Pan Celtic International Song Contest when six newly composed songs, each in its own celtic language, representing the six participating nations will compete in the grand final on Thursday, 4th April in Visual. Flying the flag for Ireland and hoping to walk away with the coveted trophy and a cash prize of €1,500 will be singer songwriter Éabha Breathnach from Connemara with her own composition “Na Pictiúir ar an mBalla”.

There will be several other interceltic competitions including traditional and folk singing, traditional dance, harp and fiddle, piping and drumming as well as the festival’s distinctive choral competitions. The focus on Saturday, 6th April will be the choral competitions in St. Mary’s Academy CBS Hall when some 12 amazing choirs from Wales, Scotland and Ireland will compete in a range of categories including male, female, mixed, rural and community choirs. Meanwhile, the choral concert on Friday night at 7.30pm in Carlow Cathedral will be an opportunity for the public to sample a selection of popular choral pieces performed by some of the visiting choirs.

Highlights of the fringe programme during the festival will include the Lunchtime Concerts on Wednesday and Thursday from 1-2pm in St. Mary’s Church, Haymarket.  The double bill on Wednesday will feature musician and singer John Spillane and locally based Indeceltic duo Anna Tanvir & Maninder Singh. Rooted in people, place and history, John Spillane’s music transports the listener and his live performances captivate audiences the world over while the mixed cultural heritage of Indeceltic go beyond language and physical boundary to create a soul stirring musical experience for the individual. Carlow’s own talented group of female singers enCÓRe supported by Asophonics will entertain at lunchtime on Thursday.

A major addition to the community entertainment programme this year will be Live @the Exchange with free afternoon sessions on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday featuring a host of local and visiting talent. Bands from Wales, Scotland, Brittany and Cornwall will perform while the Carlow Ukulele Players, Fiach Moriarty, Music Generation and Burnchurch family group will also entertain at The Exchange.

All roads will lead to the Woodford Dolmen Hotel on Friday, 5th April when the great Kilfenora Céilí Band will play for the festival céilí. This rare visit of the Kilfenora to the midlands will also provide a welcome opportunity for the band’s many fans who may not be set dancers but who wish to experience live the band’s distinctive style of music.

The Garda Band will be guests of Pan Celtic on Thursday at 2pm when under the baton of Supt. Pat Kenny they will perform an outdoor concert at The Fountain weather permitting and otherwise under cover in The Exchange.

The 50th International Pan Celtic Festival is a celebration of the Celtic cultures of Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Brittany, Isle of Man and Cornwall in music, song, dance, languages, costumes, sport and story. This year’s festival takes place throughout Carlow  has an exciting programme of events to keep everyone entertained, including street performances, a parade, live music and competitions.

Musicians and choirs, singers and dancers, bands and storytellers from the participating Celtic nations will come together to share their language and culture at this great family-friendly Easter event.

There will be Open Mic Sessions @ Pembroke Club D’Art on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoons where a host of singers, musicians, storytellers and raconteurs will be invited by host Bernard Jennings to step up to the mic. Daily walking tours of Carlow will be led by members of Carlow Archaeological and Historical Society while there will be storytelling sessions galore with Aideen McBride and Deirdre O’Byrne, Colin Urwin at Lamberts, Carlow Storytellers in the library and Ceatharlach Rambling House in Scraggs Alley. Free daily dance workshops will be based in the Tower@Dinn Rí where basic steps in highland, sean-nós and Breton dance will be delivered while the Adeleine Dargan Dancers are looking forward to a hectic schedule throughout the week. To mark the 50th anniversary of Pan Celtic, a bilingual lecture entitled “Endangered Minority Languages will be delivered by Dr. Alexandra Philibin on Thursday, 4th April in The Carlovian Room, Teach Dolmain which will also be the venue earlier in the day for the Gaidhlig Singing class and the chance to learn a Scottish Gaelic song or two from award winning Scottish Singers Caitríona & Isabelle Bain (Isle of Lewis) and Ian Beggs (Isle of Barra) – all Royal National Mód Traditional Singing Gold Medallists.

A range of festival exhibitions running throughout Pan Celtic will include paintings by the Barrow Valley Artists in the Shaw Room at Carlow Library, award winning lace creations by the Borris Lace Makers in the Museum, a photographic exhibition and memorabilia related to the majestic Duckett’s Grove will be mounted in the festival office at Potato Market while Made in Carlow will have the best of local art and craft on display to impress the hundreds of visitors to the shop on Tullow Street.

A huge array of free entertainment will be on offer in several local pubs and venues including The Irishman’s, Tully’s, Scraggs Alley, Harry Burke’s, Dinn Rí, Teach Dolmain, Waterlilies and Carpe Diem with visiting bands and local artistes included in their exciting line ups while a choral crawl of hostelries is on the menu for the Saturday afternoon.

Carlow will be a language mecca with a great mix of celtic sounds shared formally and informally throughout the week. The regular Wednesday Irish Conversation Circle will continue in Lamberts while Scraggs Alley will be the venue for a date with the Isle of Man visitors for a taste of Manx music, song and language and there will be an opportunity to learn some Scottish Gaelic phrases at the taster session with Martainn Mac a’ Bhaillidh from Skye who actually wrote the Duolingo Gaelic Course. Angela Keogh will host the multilingual Court of Poetry in Lamberts Café welcoming poets and writers from the various nations while there will be an opportunity to join Dr. Alasdair C. Whyte of the University of Glasgow for an hour of Fianna stories and place-names from his native Hebridean island of Muile.

An exciting aspect of this year’s festival will be the weekend StreetFest with Lower Tullow Street going pedestrian from 11am on Friday and Saturday and will facilitate music and colour on the main thoroughfare with the Festival Parade on Friday at 2pm when musicians, singers and dancers from the various delegations will depart the grounds of Carlow College waving their nations’ flags and props and banners. Led by the Killeshin Pipe Band the parade will be via Potato Market, Kennedy Avenue, Burrin Street and finish on Lower Tullow Street for post parade performances while a selection of celtic bands will also be on hand to perform indoors at The Exchange. The organisers of Park Run Carlow will welcome early risers on Saturday morning at 9.30am to the Town Park for a multilingual 5k Park Run Abú while the StreetFest will continue with the Busking Competition at 1pm to guarantee plenty of talent in the town centre with competitors competing for prizemoney of up to €800.

The committee hopes that all visitorsand participants will have a most enjoyable time and a great holiday and that the people of Carlow will enter into the spirit of the festival by extending a céad míle fáilte to everybody while enjoying the colour, enthusiasm and vibrancy which Pan Celtic brings to town.

The full festival programme is available now on or  while hard copies are available from  the Festival office, Potato Market, Carlow Tourism, hotels and outlets throughout the town.

Further Information? Drop into the Festival Office which will be on Potato Market, call 087 2857048, 085 1340047 or email

Contact Details:

T: 059-9158105/087-2857048/085-1340047



April 2
April 6
Event Categories:

tel:+353 (0)87-2857048 / (0)85-1340047
View Organiser Website


Carlow Town
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