From 23 – 26 June 2016, the town of Kells, in County Meath, presents the fourth Hay Festival Kells. 2016 will bring more new imaginings from a diverse programme of authors, artists, musicians, politicians and personalities.

Names released so far include prolific Irish authors Patrick McCabe, Kevin Barry and Lisa McInerney. Irish Times columnist and author Roisin Ingle will feature, as will former politician and leader of the Labour Party, Eamon Gilmore. Chelsea Garden Show winner Mary Reynolds will talk horticulture. Hotelier turned TV personality Francis Brennan and renowned investigative sports journalist Paul Kimmage are also included in the line up.

In the Image, graphic and visual effects artists explore the art of the graphic novel and gaming authorship. Contributors include Rhianna Pratchett (Tomb Raider) and Michael Carroll (Judge Dredd).

Children’s events include talks by illustrator P.J. Lynch and former Laureate Siobhán Parkinson. History features, with strands exploring the Battle of the Somme, and Dublin’s Easter Rising of 1916. Gene Kerrigan and Joe Duffy feature here. And for music fans, Dublin duo The Lost Brothers, and Mary Black will play.

Full programme will be released at the beginning of May 2016.

Hay Festival Kells
  • Kevin Barry at Hay Festival Kells 2016

    Kevin Barry

    John just wants to spend three days alone on his island - but getting there isn't easy. Kevin Barry's BEATLEBONE is a portrait of an artist at a time of creative strife, and is a sad and beautiful new comedy from one of the most gifted stylists at work. One of the most acclaimed novels of the year, it has already won the Goldsmith's Prize. In the New York Times, Steve Earle wrote - "Books like this come along once in a generation."

  • Francis Brennan at Hay Festival Kells 2016

    Francis Brennan

    The essence of good hotel keeping is hospitality and Francis Brennan has practiced this with distinction for decades. Owning the Park Hotel Kenmare, the hotel has become one of the most acclaimed hotels in Ireland regularly reaching the top of international polls. Francis from his life and hotel experiences has written two books It’s the Little Things and Counting Your Blessings. He looks forward to discussing love, life and happiness in Kells.

  • Patrick McCabe at Hay Festival Kells 2016

    Patrick McCabe

    After his outstanding 1992 success with Booker Prize nominated The Butcher Boy Patrick McCabe probably could have retired undefeated and forged the career you suspect he cherished just as much that of writer, as a singer in a band. Instead he chose to create a literary sub-genre – the Guardian calls it ‘Bog Gothic – and write more masterpieces, like Breakfast on Pluto. There is no ‘voice’ like his. His vision is anarchic. His humour is crow-black. Weaned on Hollywood noir, he has successfully managed to inject the dark dye of that filmic genre into his cinematic novels.

  • Rhianna Pratchett at Hay Festival Kells 2016

    Rhianna Pratchett

    Her website describes her, self-deprecatingly, as a ‘general narrative paramedic’. But Rhianna Pratchett is much more than a mere script doctor. Best known as an accomplished writer of video games (Heavenly Sword, Overlord, Mirror’s Edge) Rhianna has also taken in hand the re-vamping of the Tomb Raider franchise and the re-invention of the feisty and uncompromising Lara Croft. She has contributed to several books on games writing and authored numerous comics and short stories. She is currently working on the adaptation of Wee Free Men and a number of her own TV and film projects.

  • Kells Type Trail

    Kells Type Trail

    The Type Trail celebrates letters and the modern art form of typography. Each year one word is reimagined and recreated in 20 public art installations around Kells. RISE will be reinterpreted in multiple forms by local artists the 2016 Type Trail, weaving its way around the town’s historic streets.

  • Accommodation at Hay Festival Kells


    For listings of Fáilte Ireland Approved Accommodation in and around Kells, please visit or


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Hay Festival Kells