No it’s not a printing error, the Kilkenny People can confirm that the Mayor of Kilkenny and his wife have accepted an invitation to be guests of honour at the Kilkenny City St Patrick’s Day Festival 2013. The Mayor in question is Kevin Taaffe, Mayor of Kilkenny City, Minnesota and he was invited to take part in The Gathering and Kilkenny’s Parade by the Chairman of the Kilkenny St Patrick’s Day Committee, Cllr Malcolm Noonan.
“I have been in regular contact with Mayor Taaffe and I am delighted to confirm that he and his wife will come to Kilkenny next St Patrick’s Day,” said Cllr Noonan.
“So we will have a unique situation where for the first time, two sitting Mayors of Kilkenny will be on the review stand at the same time. I have asked Mayor Sean O’ hArgain to formally invite Mayor Taaffe in order that the City Council of Kilkenny Minnesota can approve the visit.”
Cllr Noonan met a delegation from the small Minnesota town during his own term as Mayor and vowed to make a connection with the two Kilkennys with the hope of establishing a formal twinning arrangement.
“To my knowledge this is the only other Kilkenny in the world and it was founded by a Kilkenny man in the 1840s,” said Cllr Noonan. “It boasts its own cooperative creamery and a church of St Canice. Their Mayor received a visit from Kilkenny People photographer Eoin Hennessy last month and I believe he caused quite a stir in Kilkenny.”
Mayor Taaffe and his wife are very excited at the prospect of visiting the city that gave their city its name. Cllr Noonan believes that the visit will have an added poignancy given that it may be the last time that the borough council will be in existence.
“I think it’s ironic that Kilkenny, Minnesota has a Mayor and Council for a population of 250 people and that Kilkenny Borough Council is facing abolition. However, we are very excited by the visit and hope that it will be the beginning of a lasting friendship between the two Kilkennys,” he said.
Mayor Taaffe spoke to the Kilkenny People and said he was excited to be coming over and said that the prior contact with Cllr Noonan had made it an easy decision. He was also full of praise for Kilkenny People photographer Eoin Hennessy, who visited the city last month while he was in the US going to American football games and enjoying a well earned holiday.
“Eoin is great and we got along really well and is certainly an excellent ambassador for Ireland and Kilkenny in particular,” he said from the mayor’s office.
“We are keen to strengthen our links with Kilkenny and of course we are named after the city and many of our forefathers came from Kilkenny and that is why it is named after Kilkenny and of course our church is named after your patron saint, St Canice,” he added.
Kilkenny City in Le Sueur County, Minnesota has a population of almost 300 people – and unlike our Kilkenny City, it has or will not lose its local council because Environment Minister Phil Hogan hasn’t got control of the USA just yet.
The city was formed in 1856 and was incorporated as a city on June 3, 1883. Among its first settlers was Dennis Doyle (1818-1902), born in Kilkenny, Ireland, who came to the United States in 1851, settled one mile west of the present city site and opened a store in his home in 1857. He taught in the first school and became the first postmaster, serving 1857 to 1888.
He was the first town clerk, served as a state legislator, and was the first to marry in the community to Catherine Raway, born in France in 1839. The Minneapolis and St Louis Railroad station was named Washburn until Doyle requested the change to coincide with the post office