Frozen soil, Turtles and turmoil

IF the monks were still filling in the annals in Kells they would have had a bumper edition in 2010. What can we say about a year when Kilkenny made the national headlines for both the right and the wrong reasons.

IF the monks were still filling in the annals in Kells they would have had a bumper edition in 2010. What can we say about a year when Kilkenny made the national headlines for both the right and the wrong reasons.

The year started off with the lowest temperatures the county had registered in almost half a century, which was an early indication that 2010 was going to be a year of records. The early cold snap was described as the coldest 12 days on records since 1963.

But for Dan Brennan a farmer in Castlecomer it was the beginning of the end of his frosty relationship with the Department of Agriculture. Mr Brennan had been cleared of any wrong doing by the department after nearly 20 years of tests and retests to establish why Mr Brennan's cattle were not gaining weight. The ruling cleared a path for Mr Brennan to take his case to the EU.

Another set of people from Kilkenny were pleading their case abroad by the end of March. The animators from Cartoon Saloon were impressing the judges at the Oscars with their first feature length film, The secret of Kells. The local film was up for the Best animated feature and despite having only one thirtieth of the budget the Secret of Kells only narrowly lost out to Pixars first 3d venture UP.

Traffic experimentation was another feature of life in Kilkenny this year. After years of speculation a one-way system was introduced in April. The system lasted one week. The loss of business in the area resulted in a quick about turn and traffic was immediately allowed flow in both directions again. Although it survived for another few months high street also returned to two way traffic on November 2nd.

Life at a much slower paces was discovered in Thomastown when Lily the turtle made the national news. Lilly a Yellow-belly slider turtle was discovered in March by fisherman, James McHardy, on the banks of the Nore. Lilly would naturally have made her home in the sunnier climate of the southern states of America. Life in Kilkenny had not been kind to Lilly. She had been abandoned by her owners and when she was examined by James Hennessy of the Kilkenny reptile village there were signs that she'd been attacked by foxes or dogs. After being kindly taken by a local resident Lilly passed away peacefully in June.

May saw the 300th year of brewing in Kilkenny being celebrated by Smithwicks and in June the local brew sponsored the Cats Laugh comedy festival. With the sun putting in a good appearance after the extreme winter, the Cats laugh festival was a great success. The Kilkenny festival season was extended this year running from the Rhythm and Roots at the end of April festival through to Savour Kilkenny at the end of October. Kilkenny now boasts an art, music, comedy, food and even economics festival this year. Not to mention the massive success of the first ever Kilkenny triathlon.

The summer in Kilkenny means hurling and this year was no exceptions. Anticipation was approaching fever pitch as the "drive for five". Across the county flags were mounted on polls. A mountain was painted in Waterford, roads were defaced all along the boarder and a youtube video of a Tipperary granny putting a cat in a bin became a sensation. Alas it was not to be. Tipperary won the All Ireland.

As we recovered from the shock of losing the Hurling, savour Kilkenny rolled in to town so that we could get the bitter taste of defeat out of our mouths. The Parade was transformed into an epicurean village over the weekend of October 22nd - 25th, with some of the best chefs in the country putting on demonstrations. The festival is part of a plan to make Kilkenny the culinary capital of the world.

Only a month after Savour Kilkenny, Kilkenomics rolled into town. The whole world was taken with the idea of an economics and comedy festival to try and make sense of the global collapse. The LA Times, Financial Times and even some of the American network news channels came to Kilkenny to sample the festival.

The year ended much as it started, freezing. The cold snap returned plunging the county into an icy winter from which we are still recovering, but with a thaw setting in things are already looking brighter for 2011.