Anniversary: As your favourite local newspaper prepares to mark 125 years of publication, editor Brian Keyes celebrates its enduring role in local life

Proud to serve the people of Kilkenny for 125 years

KILKENNY PEOPLE 125th Anniversary

Brian Keyes

Reporter:

Brian Keyes

Email:

brian.keyes@kilkennypeople.ie

The KP has developed in to a strong voice supporting the local rural communities and the city of Kilkenny.

One hundred and twenty-five years ago, the Kilkenny People first hit the streets of our county, published with the help of a second-hand printing press moved up from Clonmel by the paper’s first editor, Edward T. Keane.
A Kerryman, Keane had worked in the Clonmel Nationalist and backed Charles Stuart Parnell’s push for Home Rule. It was a time when newspapers emerged around the country in tandem with the Home Rule movement — taking on some traditional titles that had been publishing in areas for almost a century.
That was 1892 — and in autumn 2017 this title will mark 125 years of publication, embracing three different centuries. With a vibrant online presence these days going hand in hand with our new-look print edition, the Kilkenny People continues to bring the news, views and much more to the people of our wonderful county.
The KP has developed in to a strong voice supporting the local rural communities and the city of Kilkenny. The paper fought to protect the city status of Kilkenny when under threat a decade ago, and produced an acclaimed 400-year celebratory booklet of Kilkenny to follow up. The paper was also defiant in its stance against Waterford’s attempted landgrab of areas of South Kilkenny — twice, including very recently.
Apart from supporting the structure of Kilkenny and its institutions, the efforts and success of our people has been praised in these pages for decades — the young and the old, the brave and the bold; whether in Croke Park or out on the school pitch, the Kilkenny People has been there as some of the young players of today became stars in their own right. From its early beginnings on James Street, just off High Street, where the first printing press was opened, the Kilkenny People quickly became ingrained in local life. Throughout the decades it has been a strong supporter of all things local — our people, our way of life, our sport, and aspiring to ensure that all of local life is reflected in our pages.
Early newspaper pioneers were very much visionaries of their times, but those particular times were indeed turbulent. Back when the KP first hit the streets, it competed against titles like the Kilkenny Moderator and the Kilkenny Journal. Both stopped publishing by the 1930s. In 1900 ET Keane and the newspaper’s manager, PJ O’Keeffe, were arrested under the White Boys Act for their coverage of a public meeting in Mullinahone.
It was Keane's first of many run-ins with the law over a five-decade career in journalism and even in 1944, the year before he died, the 77-year-old was threatened with prosecution for his writings. Nothing came of it, as common sense prevailed.
Edward T Keane was a staunch Sinn Fein supporter, friendly with 1916 Rising leader Thomas MacDonagh. The paper often tested the patience of the local RIC and it made front-page news in the New York Times when the ‘decommissioning’ of its printing press was reported in 1922. Happily, it was soon back on the streets.
Keane produced the KP during the most turbulent times in Irish history – indeed, your local editor was armed back then with a revolver!
The Keane family’s link with the title continued for a century, with the founding editor’s nephew becoming editor — John Kerry Keane.


The Kilkenny People group later expanded its stable of newspapers, acquiring the Clonmel Nationalist and the Tipperary Star. It was sold by the Keane family to Scottish Radio Holdings in 2000, and was subsequently acquired by Johnston Press in 2005. In 2014, the media entrepreneur Malcolm Denmark purchased the Kilkenny People and 13 other titles which now make up the Iconic group.
Nowadays, of course, the Kilkenny People is much more than a newspaper – it’s modern media company and our advertisers have never had greater options to get, literally, into the pockets of our readers.
In 2017, the Kilkenny People has never had more readers than it has today — and we look ahead to a bright future together.
The paper’s editors since John Kerry Keane have been Sean Hurley, Tom Molloy and – since 2009 - myself.
The KP continues to hit the streets every Wednesday. For the people of Kilkenny, the arrival of the paper in shops continues to be a key moment in their week.
We are proud indeed to serve Kilkenny – so here’s to another 125 years!