What’s your idea of a perfect day, or a perfect weekend, out in Kilkenny?
There is so much happening in Kilkenny throughout the year that my answer to this question depends on when I’m asked. Last week I spent the loveliest days at Kilkenny Arts Festival and Alternative Kilkenny Arts – wandering from lunchtime concerts to exhibitions to secret garden music to immersive theatre and dance and on to more wonderful music.
Who has made the greatest contribution to Kilkenny in your lifetime — and why?
Malcolm Noonan brings so much to so many areas of life in Kilkenny. Socially, environmentally, and culturally, Malcolm works away with an unassuming generosity and absolute integrity.
What’s your first Kilkenny memory?
My family moved to Kilkenny when I was four so my first memories here are filled with outdoor fun; rolling down the hill in the Castle Park (back when there was still a hedge along the top!) and the great big snowfall of the early eighties when we lived in the hills of Ballyfoyle.
What’s your favourite part of the county — and why?
I love the area between Thomastown and Inistioge, particularly on a sunny summer’s evening when the light and shade move through the trees.
Do you have a favourite local writer or author?
Helena Duggan (no relation) has written a really great children’s novel – A Place Called Perfect. My daughter read and reread the original book and is now delighted with the newly published version. Carol Ann Treacy has just published her first beautifully illustrated children’s picture book, a sweet tale called The Little Lost Cat’s Big Adventure in Kilkenny.
What about a favourite local walk — or view?
The nearest of my favourite walks to where I live is down along the Linear Park to the weir. I love the view when you step out onto the weir and look downriver at the trees.
What do you think gives Kilkenny its unique identity?
We have such a rich built heritage here set within a beautiful gentle landscape that nurtures a creative energy within our city and county.
What’s the biggest challenge facing the county today?
Finding a way to flourish with a sensitivity to our environment and with regard for all members of our society without allowing vested interests of a minority to dominate.
If you had the power to change one thing in, or about Kilkenny, what would it be?
I would like to see a more cohesive and creative approach to planning, with careful consideration of the future quality of life for all who live or spend time here. I would like to see greater transparency and critical assessment of the motivations surrounding planning decisions that have the power to shape our city and its environs.