If laughter is best medicine, then Cat Laughs the cure

GLORIOUS sunshine and revellers from around the world have descended on Kilkenny for what has all the hallmarks of being the best-ever Murphy’s Cat Laughs comedy festival weekends.

US legends Dom Irrera, Rich Hall and Lewis Black were among the many who pulled on their shades and enjoyed the rays ahead of what is gearing up to be three days of side-splitting comedy and fun.

"I know that every year we say we have the best line-up ever. But this year, we really have," according to festival spokesman Kev Fitzsimons. "At this point, Saturday night is almost completely sold out. And there are tickets for some of the gigs on Sunday and Monday. Our advice to people is to travel and we'll see what we can do for them. People should drop in to the box office. Maybe someone has booked tickets and won't collect them for one reason or another. It's going to be great. And despite the rumour and speculation that the festival will end this year it's ninth year it will not.

"This Cat has more than nine lives and we're already making preparations for the 10th Cat Laughs festival," he said. Revellers can look forward to loads of familiar faces, including Orny Adams, David Feldman, Hathleen Madigan, David Cross and Tig. Bill Bailey is also back for the unique Kilkenny craic, as is Phil Kay, along with other festival favourites such as Fred MacAulay, Daniel Kitson and Jimmy Carr. The usual Irish suspects are also here in full voice. They include Jason Byrne, Owen O'Neill, Deirdre O'Kane, Ed Byrne, Colin Murphy and Dara Ó Briain.

Following the success of Book Soup last year, another feast of writers has arrived to read and chat with Pauline McLynn. Tony Hawks's brilliant Round Ireland with a Fridge is proving a huge hit. He is among the many who will read live in Kilkenny. Melissa Bank will also be reading from her book A Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing definitely one to catch.

The comedy craic begins early today with Kitty Flicks at the Watergate Theatre at lunchtime. Book Soup with Tony Hawks runs at the parade tower at 4pm. Jimmy Carr, Kathleen Madigan and host Des Bishop are on at Widow McGrath's just after 6pm. Barry Murphy teams up with David Feldman and Kathleen Madigan in a later show at Club 51, which should not be missed. Just how many will survive the night and be up to the Comics Festival Football Match at 2.30pm tomorrow remains to be seen.

The Irish versus the rest challenge is always a huge hit.

More in this section