Pangur Bán : the cat who got the cream in Kilkenny

Pangur Bán, one of Ireland’s mythical animals, who featured in what is thought to be one of Ireland’s oldest poems, written by an Irish monk in Austria in the 8th century, has become the latest addition to Kilkenny’s CatWalk, a trail of twenty two cats in the medieval Marble City. Having played a central role in Cartoon Saloon’s Oscar-nominated The Secret of Kells animated movie in 2009, Pangur Bán has again inspired a local artistic family to create the final addition to the trail, specially commissioned by the city’s Yulefest Christmas festival and Kilkenny Civic Trust.
The piece was jointly created by established contemporary, abstract artist, Brock Butler and his daughters, fine artist Jade Butler and illustrator and sculptor Blaise Butler. The statue was unveiled by Cartoon Saloon’s Director Paul Young and his daughter Robyn, at the city’s Parade area, in front of Kilkenny Castle, which is hosting the city’s Christmas Market and a myriad of musical, theatrical and artistic events at the heart of the annual Christmas festival.
Civic Trust chairperson, Colette Byrne said ‘This latest catwalk statue is a wonderful celebration of the medieval culture of our city but with a central connection to the magnificent work of Cartoon Saloon who celebrate this medieval culture through the innovative use of animation techniques which are beautiful, creative, thoroughly modern but still respectful of the culture of art and literature we exported all over Europe.
The interpretation of the Pangur bán character, who we remember with fondness from our school days, breathes new life into this most ancient of feline stars. The intergenerational collaboration between the two generations of the Butler family show that these traditions are in safe hands. I look forward to them inspiring the next generation of creative children, both local and those who visit our city to celebrate the Christmas season.’

Information on artists:
Brock Butler has been exhibiting in Kilkenny for many years and has also shown in Dublin, Galway, Belfast, Edinburgh  and London  as well as at various arts festivals and international art fairs. He has three times been awarded Government per cent for art commissions. Collectors of his work include financier Dermot Desmond and Senator David Norris, and he is also included in numerous hotel collections around the country.
Jade Butler has been emerging in recent years as a name to watch in the art world. Graduating from West Wales School of the Arts in 2010, her current work is primarily contemporary still life in oils. Her work has been selected for the prestigious annual exhibition of The Royal Hibernian Academy , as well as The Royal Ulster Academy and The Royal Scottish Academy. Her paintings are held in private collections in Europe and America and several public collections including the Office of Public Works N.I.
Both Brock and Jade had paintings included in the recent Butler Gallery fundraising auction at Lyrath Estate on November 26th, which raised over €60.000 for the city’s municipal contemporary art gallery.
Blaise Butler is an illustrator and sculptor. Using her middle name Pandora, her work can be seen on Instagram as blaisepandoraart. She most recently exhibited her sculptures at The Secret Garden Exhibition during Kilkenny Arts Festival 2021. Having lived for several years in  Australia, where she expanded her artistic range, working for some time with a studio of tattoo artists – she has now returned to Kilkenny and has also returned to Art School to extend her skills even further, studying ceramics at Grennan Mill.
Information on The Kilkenny Catwalk 2021 Trail
A trail of wonderful Kilkenny Cat sculptures which have been decorated by some of Ireland’s most talented artists, mainly local, on public display in and around Kilkenny City.
This arts project is a partnership project between Kilkenny Civic Trust and Kilkenny County Council which can be engaged with outdoors, whilst adhering to physical distancing requirements, regardless of restrictions. The Cat Walk art trail is fun, bright and engaging and will bring a smile to people’s faces and support the Keep Well Campaign. People are invited to get outdoors, follow the trail and enjoy it.

Parliament Street was popping

The Yulefest Friday Night DJ Beats began on Friday night in the Watergate Pocket Park, on Parliament Street. Positioning itself as something a bit different to begin your Friday evening in the city, or to end your work week. The Watergate Pocket Park has been decorated for Yulefest by local Parliament St. Florist Iris and features the DJs The Se7en Inch Collective. A place to catch up with friends and get in to the festive spirit in an outdoor environment with free entertainment. While the dark evening and the weather might have got the evening off to a slow start, word started to spread and soon the tunes were enticing in passers-by, visiting families brought their take aways along, children and adults were enjoying hot chocolates and those who were out for the night were up dancing. There were Christmas Trees a plenty and music that complimented ‘that Friday feeling’.
If you missed out this week don’t worry, Friday Night DJ Beats is back again this Friday the 10th and the 17th and it finishes on Wednesday the 22nd just in time to catch up with your friends before Christmas. This is a free event, so just rock up and enjoy.
While the DJ Beats takes place on Friday the Watergate Pocket Park in all its festiveness is open all week. A great outdoor place to meet a friend for coffee or to enjoy your lunch. There are plenty of benches and loads of Parliament street eateries to cater for all tastes.
More information can be found on and @YulefestKilkenny on Facebook.

Top tips for the most important meal of the year

With Christmas fast approaching, our thoughts turn to the most important meal of the year – Christmas Dinner! Edward Hayden and Anne Neary are coming to Yulefest to take the mystery out of cooking the Christmas Dinner. Join them on the Yulefest Bandstand this coming Saturday (11th) at 1pm as they talk you through the ins and outs of creating the most looked forward to meal of the year. Learn all the best tips and tricks and have your cooking questions answered. There might even be a few treats to taste!
Edward Hayden is a top chef and food writer who regularly features on Virgin Media’s Ireland AM. Anne Neary runs Ryeland House Cookery School, is an author and has a weekly segment on KCLR 96FM. Together they’ll help you raise your Christmas dinner game, along with plenty of banter and craic. So no matter who cooks in your house, come along and enjoy.
Join them on the Yulefest Bandstand, The Parade, Kilkenny City at 1pm on Saturday 11th of December. This event is free and un-ticketed. And sure while you’re there, why not explore the Yulefest Winter Market and pick up some local treats and pressies and put the cherry on the cake of a great Christmas!
More information can be found on and @YulefestKilkenny on Facebook.

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