Look back on 2012 September-October



The Buttlerslip is one of the nation’s favorite shops:

A local Kilkenny shop was named The Best Gift Shop in Ireland. The campaign lead by The Irish Times got under way during the summer months, with a team of secret shoppers visiting each of the 50 long list reader nominated shops around Ireland, taking into account a number of factors such as their place in the community, creative window displays, staff friendliness, excellence in customer service, and interesting and unusual stock.

‘Healthy Town’ initiative can boost our quality of life:

Kilkenny became the first ever “Healthy Town”, and launched a 10 week programme of health and well-being initiatives, aimed at encouraging people in Kilkenny to improve their health and take part in physical activities.

The ten-week programme was something that everyone could take part in and improve their own individual health and well-being on their own terms. It also offered participants free health checks of their BMI, cholesterol and blood pressure at the start and completion of the programme to track progress and impact. Health checks and evaluation of the initiative were conducted by the Centre for Health Behaviour and Research at Waterford Institute of Technology. The mayor, who competes in events such as marathons and triathlons, and travels around the city via bicycle, also lounched a series of Mayor’s Walks’ around the city every Saturday morning at 11am from the Parade.

Mayor O’ hArgain also had special mention for the role played by hurling in the lives of Kilkenny people.

“For thousands of children across the city and county, this sport is integral to their physical and mental well-being, “ he said.

“Hurling is more than just a sport for Kilkenny people - it is a full-blown culture. Children are holding hurls in their hands as soon as they are able to hold spoons, and therefore it could be said that hurling is almost innate in a Kilkenny child.

Festival ends with grand finale:

Over 500 people attended the grand finale of the Gospel Choir festival, which took place in Kilkenny. Crowds packed into St Mary’s Cathedral, where all of the visiting choirs performed their music in unison alongside high profile guest performers. Award winning Irish singer-songwriter Don Mescall sang a special official festival anthem for the first time - written by himself and Chris Pelcer. The event was the final act of the three days of musical and cultural activities, in which, over 1200 people participated.

Brian Cody receives honorary doctorate:

Brian Cody received an honorary doctorate of Arts for his enormous contribution to Irish hurling. Under his management the Kilkenny hurling team has won 9 All-Ireland titles.

Celebrating 21 years of serving Kilkenny:

The Barnstorm Theater Company celebrated 21 years. Since 1991 Barnstorm Theatre Company has enjoyed 87 productions, 1,943 performances in local venues including The Watergate and The Barn in Barnstorm and in 56 venues nationwide. They have also visited three countries, including Wales and Japan. To date more than 500,000 children have seen a Barnstorm production.

Family cries foul on false George Clooney story in South Kilkenny:

Genealogists have shown that the story of George Clooney’s Irish Roots does not stand up to closer examination.

Although the actor’s ancestors did in fact originate in Knockeen, Windgap, South Kilkenny; research commissioned by the Burke Family has shown that most of the story broken in 2011, has no factual basis.

The Clooney family were not evicted during the Famine but remained on their land until the mid-1850s when it was sold as a bankrupt’s estate.

The younger generation of Clooneys emigrated as a group, there is no proven link to a family of the same name in Abbeyleix and Clooney’s ancestors have no proven link with the Titanic. Also there has been no contact whatsoever between the actor, his agent in Los Angeles and the Clooney-wanabees in Abbeyleix.

On the edge of our seats:

The All-Ireland hurling final was destined for a replay as during the last minutes of the match Joe Canning was awarded a contentious free, from which he shot the equalising point for Galway. Kilkenny 0-19 Galway 2-13.

Skateboarders ramp up campaign by raising the money themselves:

Castlecomer skater Ed Downey was planning to skate all the way from Malin Head in Donegal to Mizen Head in Cork in aid to rise money for a Kilkenny skate park. He was aiming to complete the 412-mile journey in seven days. The trek has been undertaken once before and completed in 11 days, but 24-year-old Ed was hoping to beat that record.

The idea of taking charge of the skate park plans themselves has been developed over the past year or so by Urban Sports Kilkenny, which has joined up with other groups including Kilkenny 360. The fund-raising plan has two goals: first, to cover the cost of renting an industrial unit, including the running costs; and second, to pay for the building-out of the space as an indoor skate park. They estimate that they will need €15,000 to cover the costs of building it out, plus annual running costs of €15,000.

Due to an injury the challenge has been postponed till Spring 2013.

Kilkenny host dramatic finish to Cannonball run:

Kilkenny was the finishing line for the Cannonball Run. The city hosted 150 of the finest cars on the planet including Lamborghini, Ferrari, McLaren, Aston Martin, Porsche, Maseratti, Rolls Royce and Bentley. Over 10,000 people lined the streets and the Parade, to have a look at the super-cars. The Cannonball Run is Europe’s largest organised road trip with drivers and celebrities from all over the world helping to raise funds for the Laura Lynn House.

Honouring our Paralympians:

Three Kilkenny Paralympians, Ray O’Dwyer, James Dwyer and Gabriel Shelig, were honoured by Kilkenny Borough and County Council for their achievements at the Paralympics. Their hard work, determination and skill inspired the country.

Kilkenny teen conquers Kilimanjaro:

Kilkenny teenager Tadhg O’Carroll was among a group of 100 Irish students who completed the climbing of Mount Kilimanjaro - Africa’s highest peak.

Tadhg, from Shellumsrath house, Kilkenny, had volunteered for the climb as part of a joint fund-raising venture for our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children and The Cernobyl Children’s Fund. The 17-year-old has described the experience as the most difficult undertaking of his life, being drained both physically and emotionally by the climb and all it involved.

The Kilimanjaro climb raised approximately € 100,000 for the two causes.


On Cloud Nine:

Records smashed. A double delight. A ninth medal for Henry and Noel – and of course Brian Cody’s ninth All-Ireland success in charge of the Kilkenny hurlers.

By half-time of the All-Ireland final replay, there was no doubting the superiority of the Cats, who went on to win by eleven points and deny Galway their first title in over twenty years.

Fashion Week hits the catwalk:

The country’s best models, stylists, make-up artists, fashion producers, and Kilkenny’s finest fashion retailers were highly anticipating the launch of the inaugural Kilkenny Fashion Week, which ran from October 10 to 13 and featured a huge line-up of fashion events.

Joe Duffy walks in memory of Susie:

RTE broadcaster Joe Duffy was reunited with family of Susie Long in Kilkenny to mark the fifth anniversary of her death at a memorial walk in the Castle Park. Mr Duffy recalled how the 42-year-old mother emailed his radio programme to expose the shocking divide between the public and private health service. Under the name Rosie’ -- to protect her children, Aine and Fergus -- she gave a harrowing account of how her undiagnosed cancer had spread while she waited seven months for a colonoscopy. Susie did not have private health insurance as she did not believe it was right to skip the public queue.

Strong promises were made in the wake of Susie’s death that things would change. However, her friends and family continue to campaign for a better health service since the young mother’s death.

The first ever Susie Long Memorial Walk was attended by over 100 people who donned t-shirts bearing the names of loved ones who died from cancer. The event is the latest fundraising initiative by the Susie Long Hospice Fund. The charity has already raised €620,000 towards providing a hospice for the people of Carlow and Kilkenny.

Teens dance for drug awareness:

35 young “zombies” took part in a Thriller dance flash-mob on the Parade for Kilkenny Drug Awareness Week. Ossory Youth’s Kilkenny Peer Education Guerrillas organised the event through Facebook, inviting young people to come to the Ormonde Hotel, which had donated the use of a rehearsal room, for a two-hour run-through of the dance steps. The group then headed up to Desart Hall to slash their clothes, splash on fake blood and paint themselves with special effects, including some painfully sticky latex fake skin. The dancers moved through the town in small groups, led by volunteers from Rotaract (the under-30s Rotary Club), to converge on the Parade to perform Thriller to over 200 tourists and passers-by, to delighted applause.

Kilkenny is crowned best city in Ireland:

Kilkenny is officially the best city in Ireland according to a survey conducted by the country’s largest retail industrial body, Retail Excellence Ireland (REI). The survey which comprised of 16,000 citizen and stakeholder interviews in 100 towns and cities throughout Ireland, is the largest town and city survey ever undertaken in Ireland. Kilkenny scored high for image, being family-friendly, and having a wide variety of pubs and restaurants.

Kilkenny People coffee morning raises funds for local St. Vincent de Paul:

The Kilkenny People newspaper celebrated 120 years serving the people of Kilkenny city and county. The occasion was marked by a coffee morning in Langton’s of John Street, which raised €704 for the local St. Vincent de Paul. The Kilkenny People also took the opportunity to donate €600 to the Cois Nore Cancer Support Centre.

Applauding those who Keep Kilkenny Beautiful:

Community groups and individuals who work tirelessly to make Kilkenny a more attentive and pleasant place were celebrated at the annual Keep Kilkenny Beautiful Awards. Prizes were handed out in categories honouring individual households, housing estates and businesses for their efforts across the city.

Gold cup is plain sailing for Dougie:

A local student won a top international sailing competition, overcoming a field of fellow national champions to take gold in Bermuda. Dougie Elms (14), from Kilkenny city, was already the Irish champion when he raced to victory in the Renaissance Re Junior Gold Cup. Sailing an Optimist, he managed to finish four points clear of his rival Tomas di Luciano of Argentina at the end of the 11-race regatta.