Programme of Festival Events

Friday june 2nd - Monday june 5th

Location: Celbridge, Co. Kildare

Vanessa and Letters-cropped
June 2

Vanessa and Swift: A (complicated !!) love story

A talk by Dr. Brendan Twomey & Harpist Mary Keenan
Venue: Slip Hall, The Slip, Celbridge.
Time: 7.30-9pm. Free Entry

This talk will explore the fifteen-year long, and in the end tragic, love story much of which took place on the banks of the Liffey in Celbridge Abbey. It will be interspersed with beautiful pieces by Mary Keenan. Register by email to

Illustration of children reading
June 3

Children's Storytime

Children’s Swift & Vanessa Storytime
Venue: Tea Lane Church, Church Street, Celbridge
Free entry

This event for children ages 7-10 will bring to life the story of Swift and Vanessa in Celbridge Abbey and also extracts from Swift’s wonderful fairytale Gulliver’s Travels. From 11am – 12:30 pm at Tea Lane. Limited number of places. Register by emailing
Free entry.

Photo of the front of Kildrought House, Celbridge
June 2-5

Tours of Kildrought House

Tour times: Tours will be held at 11:00 each day from Friday 2nd June – Monday 5th June.
Fee: 3 euro

The tours last for approximately 1.5 hours and will show the beautiful interior and gardens of this historic building and will hear its wonderful stories. The maximum number of people for each tour is 12. To book phone: 087 616 8651 or 01 627 1206 from the 20th May.

Playacting cropped
June 3

Swift's Secrets Play

by Straffan Drama Club
Venue: Kildrought Gardens, Main Street Celbridge
Time: 2-4pm. Free entry

Swift’s Secrets, written and directed by Geraldine O’Brien, will be performed by Straffan Drama Club on Saturday, June 3rd, 2023 at various times between 2-4pm. It is a promenade piece set in the beautiful gardens of Kildrought House by the same team that produced Under Lady Louisa’s Bonnet in 2021 and Celbridgians in 2022. It takes place outdoors, is 30 minutes in duration, and requires walking on uneven ground. 

Booking is essential, text 0872618118

Actors seated on a bench in a garden
June 3

Romantic Readings

Venue, Tea Lane Church, Church Lane, Celbridge
Time: 4-6pm. Free entry.

This beautifully choregraph piece gives a great understanding of the nature of the relationship between Swift and Vanessa.  The reading of their letters gives an opportunity to  connect in a very personal way with both Swift and Vanessa. It also allows the audience to form their own opinion of a love affair that has intrigued so many over centuries. Not to be missed.

Read by actors Bob Tysall and Camilla With. Narrated by Ann Kelly

Register by email to

Celtic Tenors and Deirdre Masterson poster image
June 3

Celtic Tenors with Deirdre Masterson Supported by Mary Conroy

Venue: Christchurch, Castletown Gates, Celbridge
Time: Sat. 8pm
Entry: 10 euro

Enjoy a musical evening to savour and celebrate the love story of Swift and Vanessa with the Celtic Tenors and Deirdre Masterson, supported by Mary Conroy. In the beautiful setting of Christchurch we will hear renditions of beautiful romantic, celtic songs, exhilarating classics, a capellas and popular contemporary songs. Tickets sales started on 2nd May at the entrance to Tesco from 6-8pm and are currently sold out. To add your name to a waiting list contact Bridie O’Connor at: 087 795 2271

Teenager girl playing flute and teenage boy playing the uileann pipes.
June 4

Family Fun Day!

Venue: The Slip, Celbridge
Time: Sun. 2-6pm
Entry: Free

Come along to the Slip for a fun day of family activities, including Checkers. This duo is one of Ireland’s top social dancing bands. The afternoon will also see performances by the RAMS in Rhythm Men’s Shed band, dancing, face-painting and circus performers. Bring your good cheer, dancing shoes and lots of enthusiasm! Free entry.


Swift & Vanessa play at Tea Lane-cropped1
June 4 & 5

'Swift and Vanessa' Play

Venue: Tea Lane, Celbridge
Time: First showing –
June 4th Sun. 8pm | Second showing: Monday 2-3 pm
Entry: Adults 10 euro or donation (for low/unwaged)

Congratulations to all who managed to get tickets to the Swift and Vanessa play on the 4th June which has sold out. Due to popular  demand we have scheduled another show on Monday 5th June 2-3pm!

Book your tickets here:

In 1710, Jonathan Swift met Esther VanHomrigh (Vanessa) in London. She became besotted with him. But what he failed to mention was that he had another Esther – Esther Jonson – in his life. A woman he’d temporarily left behind in Dublin. Let us transport you back to the London of 1710, when the smartest man in the city met the strong-willed Vanessa. It was a meeting he was never allowed to forget and a story you won’t… “A remarkable production…’ Liffey Champion

Ticketed events - don't miss out