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My Kilkenny Life: Nicola Butler

Nicola Butler, 27, works as assistant manager in Monsoon on High Street and is from Kilmanagh. She says she’s a big fan of the Ballykeeffe Amphitheatre.

My Kilkenny Life: Nicola Butler

Nicola Butler

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

My favourite weekend in Kilkenny is always the Cat Laughs Weekend, it’s an event I never miss. I feel it brings a great atmosphere to the city and gives the place a great buzz. Otherwise, most of my days consist of a visit to Infinity Fitness gym on James’s Street.

Who has made the greatest contribution to Kilkenny in your lifetime — and why?
Two people come to mind, Angela Hayes, who founded Teach Tom, a drop in centre for those affected by  suicide which has made a huge contribution to Kilkenny. Another initiative is Taxi Watch, set up by Derek Devoy and a number of other taxi drivers around the town, which has played a huge role in preventing a number of suicides in the county.

What’s your first Kilkenny memory?
My first memory of Kilkenny is my first school trip and being told about the ghosts in Kilkenny Castle.

What’s your favourite part of the county — and why?
Woodstock Gardens has been a place I’ve visited with my family since I was young, it’s a beautiful place to go walking or have a picnic.

Do you have a favourite local writer or author?
I studied local history at college and because of that my answer to this question would have to be Ronald Larkin who wrote ‘The Road to Knockeenbaun’ both the title of a poem and book all about the history of my home village of Kilmanagh.

What about a favourite local walk — or view?
I love the view from the top of the quarry in Ballykeeffe, it’s a lovely place for a stroll and it’s also a very popular venue (Ballykeeffe Amphitheatre) for outdoor events and concerts, which has seen quite a few big names play there. The old quarry makes it a really unique venue and offers great natural acoustic.

What do you think gives Kilkenny its unique identity?
I think anyone that visits Kilkenny always comments on the friendliness of the people in the county. There’s always a good atmosphere around and there is always some kind of event or other to keep people entertained.

What’s the biggest challenge facing the county today?
Probably like most other counties, I think the housing issue is very prevalent. It’s also very sad to see so many empty retail units, but there are additions being made and new businesses setting up so I hope that they will be a positive boost to the city.

If you had the power to change one thing in, or about Kilkenny, what would it be?
Free parking in the city, I think this would make Kilkenny an even bigger shopping and weekend away destination and would really contribute to the local economy.

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