What’s your idea of a perfect day, or perfect weekend out in Kilkenny?
I generally work weekends so I try to fit all my training early in start before work. I love a good early start on Saturday morning, where I can get out on the bike with the triathlon crew or to the Castle Park to meet everyone at Parkrun. Every now and again I’ll bring Bruce Wayne our rescue dog. He was crowned fastest dog in Kilkenny at the Santa Run last year so he needs to keep fit! After that it's into Kieran Street where Úna, myself and Dómhnall go for breakfast. We usually go to when this we day sang . . I’m still mortified SATURDAY Desart The Great Bridge Duck , 2 Race pm. , Lady 9 Drops pm. of Green, The Field, After year so that he it needs ’s into to Kieran keep Street fit! the What county ’s your - and favourite why? part of Savour Kilkenny Food Rockfall: Kiddies Halloween Stephen Murphy, Dylan where Úna, myself and Domhnall I love anywhere along the water. I Festival, various venues. Disco, Kilkenny Ormonde Whiskey Bar, 9pm. go for breakfast. We usually go to The Yard Café or somewhere along Kieran Street. When I’m not working I’m swimming, cycling or running or all three in that order. My son Domhnall is only six weeks old and has Úna and I kept busy. So any time I get to spend with them makes my day.
Who has made the greatest contribution to Kilkenny in your lifetime - and why?
While she hasn’t been around in my lifetime, her legend lives on. Dame Alice Le Kyteler is one of Kilkenny’s greatest stories. The real heroes of Kilkenny. The daughter of a wealthy banker and an entrepreneur she was accused of witchcraft, heresy and murder. Kyteler’s Inn is the home of her story and people flock to Kilkenny and are fascinated by this incredible tale. After hearing the story of Alice and once you step into Kyteler’s Inn you can feel the spookiness. Her legend continues to support this local business and the people employed within.
What’s your first Kilkenny memory?
One of my earliest memories was playing with a football on Kieran Street. We grew up over Kyteler’s Inn, so my brother and I would play out on the street. The street was usually busy with shoppers but would be eerily quiet in the mornings. It's such a contrast to today where early in the morning all the coffee shops are bustling with people. There was one time where we saw how much money that the buskers that would play on the street were making and we decided to sing outside the pub and earn a few pounds. It wasn't long before we were reported to my parents. They probably noticed a decrease in customers when we sang. I'm still mortified to this day.
What's your favourite part of the county- and why?
I love anywhere along the water. I love swimming with the Kilkenny Triathlon Club during the week up and down the Nore. If I get the chance for a long run I often take Bruce Wayne (the dog) along the Nore to Bennettsbridge on the marked trail. It's an incredible hidden gem for Kilkenny and for people who enjoy long walks.
What do you think gives Kilkenny its unique identity?
It's the people that give Kilkenny its uniqueness, especially the people who volunteer. The people who volunteer in their clubs and help out their community are the real heroes of Kilkenny. The Kilkenny Triathlon Club, for example, along with other clubs, get together to do litter picks or clean up the river and its banks.
Do you have a favourite local author or writer?
Is there an argument for claiming Charles Dickens as a local? My mother is the great, great grand-child of Charles Dickens. We can claim him as an "honorary member" at least. Can't we?
What's the biggest challenge facing the county today?
My wife would say the Galway senior hurling team! On a serious note, barriers to business such as increased local rates, VAT and expensive parking are deterring people from visiting the city centre.