A BRITISH member of the House of Lords paid a visit to Kilkenny City last week, where he was met by Mayor of Kilkenny David Fitzgerald and county manager Joe Crockett.
Lord George Magan and his wife Lady Wendy Magan visited a number of prominent city locations, including Kilkenny Castle, Rothe House, St Canice’s Cathedral and St Mary’s Hall. The afternoon was organised and hosted by local man Paul Smithwick.
Lord Magan also paid a visit to the St Francis Abbey Brewery site, which is due to be purchased by Kilkenny Local Authorities when Diageo cease operations in 2013. Various possibilites remain on the table in terms of development and investment for the site after the proposed handover.
The entourage travelled from Kilkenny Castle to Rothe House on Ivan Sheridan’s black and amber road train. Mayor David Fitzgerald met the group at City Hall, where they had tea and Lord Magan signed the visitors’ book and viewed the city treasures.
In Rothe House, the president of Kilkenny Archaeological Society Peter McQuillan welcomed the visiting party and talked briefly about the city’s rich history.
Lord Magan, who is also the Baron of Castletown, then spoke of his own fondness for Kilkenny and his roots in the county, including his famous South Kilkenny residence - the luxurious Castletown Cox. He talked about the past of the medieval city, displaying an in-depth knowledge of Kilkenny’s history.
A member of the Conservative Party, Lord Magan has a net worth of an estimated £60 million. His father, the late Brigadier Bill Magan, was the director of Britain’s MI5 intelligence agency.
Tonight (Wednesday), Paul Smithwick is to host a private dinner at Rothe House in honour of the Dutch ambassador to Ireland, Robert Engels, whose term of office comes to an end this summer.
Around 100 people are expected to attend, with the guest list including the Papal Nuncio, Rev Charles Brown, diplomats such as the new British ambassador and those from Latvia, Austria, Belgium and Denmark; business representatives, and Mayor Fitzgerald.