HARD to believe that a man knocking a woman of her bike could form the basis for a Festival of romance in Kilkenny but that is exactly what is happening.
Frank Kavanagh of Kilkenny Castle wants to prove that the city is the most romantic place in Ireland and is using the untold story of his own late parents to prove it. He said that in 1939, when his father Michael came to the city he was driving an army vehicle when he knocked his wife to be, Jane Dalton, off her bike on John’s Bridge. “And here I am today along with eight other siblings and you can’t get a more romantic story then that,” he said.
He is now organising the first ever Festival of Romance on May 16, 17, 18 and 19th of next year as part of The Gathering.
“It will be called the Gathering of Romantics and I hope that people from all over the world who are looking for love or found it in kilkenny will come,” he said.
The festival is for all age groups and both sexes. “We want to create something special here and to bring romantic Ireland back and prove WB Yeats wrong,” Frank said.
“We will show, once and for all that Kilkenny city and county is the most romantic place in Ireland. It makes sense when you when you realise that St Canice fell in love with Kilkenny enough to settle here. And Strongbow who invaded us with the rest of the Normans built the castle here all because of a woman that he fell in love with a Kilkenny woman and what about our own Alice Kyteler who fell in love five times albeit for different reasons and all five died.
“Kilkenny is full of romance and we have such songs as The Rose of Mooncoin and The Moon Behind The Hill. It was also here that Thomas Moore fell in love and Edmund Spencer wrote sonnets about our Nore,” Frank added.
“I want all who have Kilkenny connections and even those who don’t to get some romance into their lives and everything else that comes with romance and come to the city next May,” he said. “There must be people all over the world who met in kilkenny or their parents or grandparents or have Irish or kilkenny connections,” he asked.
He is looking for the following: A love guru; love psychic; romantic music concerts; romantic book reading;
kiss and tell romantic tours; romantic walks; matchmaking; love potions; vow renewals and a best courtship story
“There are lots of possibilities like your dream proposal; a chase your lover event; cook for your partner; may love traditions; a short true love story competition and much more.
Frank’s nephew, Dr David Kavanagh is carrying on the Kavanagh romance tradition and has appeared on many tv shows.
Frank needs a committee and is hoping local people will get behind the initiative. “I’m sure I can pull this off, after all in Kilkenny we all have a romantic streak and
we are full of love when it comes to hurling,” Frank said.