30 Nov 2021

My Kilkenny Life: "The county needs a third level institution."

Young student Claire Dunphy has worked in The Watershed for over a year as a swim teacher and a lifeguard.

My Kilkenny Life

Pictured is Claire Dunphy in her uniform outside The Watershed.

What’s your idea of a perfect day, or a perfect weekend, out in Kilkenny?

For myself, a great day out in Kilkenny would definitely be spent down the river in Graignamanagh. On a warm summer’s day, spending my time jumping off the diving boards and into the lovely cool water just sounds like the perfect day to me.

Who has made the greatest contribution to Kilkenny in your lifetime — and why?

I would have to say the great hurler Henry Shefflin (below) has made one of the greatest contributions to Kilkenny. He has over the years inspired so many young people to get active and pick up a hurl and sliotar.

What’s your first Kilkenny memory?

Going to swim lessons every single week in the old James Stephens’ pool. I remember loving the pool and the water, something that has stayed with me as I grew up and more than likely influenced my choice of job also.

What’s your favourite part of the county — and why?

The green fields of home here in Woodsgift. The amazing view of the Clomantagh Hill from my bedroom window.

Do you have a favourite local writer or author?

It has to be my very own Grandad, Joe Dunphy, from Thomastown. Joe has written many books throughout the years, from Irish workbooks for primary school classrooms to poetry collections to local history books. My favourite book of his has to be his book called ‘When I Grow Up’, a book all about the people of Thomastown and a collection of Thomastown’s great historical stories.

What about a favourite local walk — or view?

My favourite walk in Kilkenny has to be the one I often went on with my parents and grandparents when I was younger down in the woods of
Jenkinstown. I wish I had time to do it more often in my life at the moment.

What do you think gives Kilkenny its unique identity?

The people of Kilkenny are what make the county such a great place to live in. I’ve only recently realised how genuinely friendly and approachable the people of Kilkenny are. As I live in Dublin for college, I hadn’t noticed this until I moved away. I notice and appreciate the people every time I’m home.

What’s the biggest challenge facing the county today?

The decline in the amenities for rural areas is one of the biggest problems. The lack of public transport and local services is leaving many rural areas very isolated.

If you had the power to change one thing in, or about Kilkenny, what would it be?

I would definitely try and bring a permanent third level institution to Kilkenny. It would keep more young people in the county and it would boost the economy of Kilkenny. Our medieval city would make for a wonderful university experience.

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