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photo of front of kanes pub bed and breakfast, leinster street, athy, county kildare, ireland

photo of  kanes formerly the railway hotel, leinster street, athy, county kildare, ireland


Sharon Loughrin reviewing the 2010 festival wrote: Athy Bluegrass Festival has certainly notched up yet another successful weekend of great bluegrass music. Unfortunately we could not make it down until Saturday, but friends tell us we missed a good night on Friday. Host band Woodbine got Saturday night off to a rousing start with the usual good craic and friendly banter adding to a strong and varied performance. Great music combined with the ability to get lots of laughs make for a good beginning to any night!

Niall Toner and his band delivered a professional performance of mainly original material which demonstrate the great songwriting skills of Niall, Dick, and Clem backed by fine musicianship (Clem O'Brien performed solo on Saturday afternoon to great acclaim). It's always good to hear the personal anecdotes from Niall that led to some of his creations.

High Plains Tradition rounded off the night with a breathtaking performance, the very essence of traditional bluegrass - superb vocals and picking coupled with impeccable timing in true bluegrass fashion. Athy seems to have a soft spot for wee Bobbie, but the audience loved them all! We also thoroughly enjoyed the Sunday morning gospel concert with the band in the Carlton Abbey Hotel, a fitting setting for such wonderful gospel and a cappella numbers.

For us as regular festival-goers, each festival brings its own unique quality - while it's a thrill to see the plethora of big names playing at some festivals, perhaps it's fitting that Ireland's oldest bluegrass festival is very much the people's festival. Athy places great emphasis on local talent, and was recently described to me as 'the pickers' festival' - we certainly enjoy the impromptu sessions around the hotel and the pubs as much as the organised concerts.

Long may Tony O'Brien continue to pull people in from all corners to support this event - a place to catch up with old friends and make new friends.

Gordon Bennett 1903 Winnder
Tourist Information Office

The Tourist Information Office in Athy is located in the Heritage Centre and Museum located a few minutes stroll from Kane's Pub Bed and Breakfast in Emily Square in the heart of this Heritage Town.


Overnight accommodation during the Bluegrass Festival is available with rooms to let at Kane's Bed and Breakfast located a short distance from the Carlton Abbey, the location for the festival events.


Tourist Attractions

Stay a little longer in the Athy area and explore what the region has to offer.


Athy Events Calendar


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