Top US honour for Kilkenny man

A Kilkenny man who emigrated from his native city over thirty years ago is to receive a top award from the US government for inspirationally overcoming the effects of a natural disaster which struck his business last year.

A Kilkenny man who emigrated from his native city over thirty years ago is to receive a top award from the US government for inspirationally overcoming the effects of a natural disaster which struck his business last year.

Barry O’Donovan, originally from the Dublin Road, is to be honoured at the end of this month in Washington for turning around the utter destruction of his premises by Hurricane Irene last Autumn.

The Kilkenny House, his family owned business was completely destroyed due to rising water levels of a nearby river in his home town of Cranford, New Jersey.

Within six weeks, and by October 7, Barry’s tireless effort and the support of family, friends and the entire business community saw the popular premises re-open.

Every year, the US government honours people in three categories - business, volunteer and public official - for their outstanding service and dedication in overocming the effects of a natural disaster.

In recent years the effects of hurricanes has hit the States hard - in particular Hurricane Katriona and the devastation of New Orleans.

Late last summer, Hurricane Irene’s path up the coast of the USA caused a considerable loss of life and destroyed many buildings and structures.

Barry’s efforts in getting back on his feet, and responding with such courage and dedication to the effects of Hurricane Irene meritted him the national award in the Business category.

‘Delighted’

“I am delighted with the honour, of all the disasters that have hit the States last year they picked my experience and what we did here at the Kilkenny House as an example of getting back on your feet in business,” said Barry.

He will attend a state banquet in Washington on May 21, and be honoured the following day on May 22.

Barry emigrated to the States 32 years ago and is married to Peggy - they have two sons Kevin and Tim.

His father was a former commandant of James Stephens Barracks.

Feature in this week’s Kilkenny People.