What’s your idea of a perfect day, or a perfect weekend, out in Kilkenny?
A perfect day in Kilkenny would be waking up in Inistioge where I live. Then walking down to the village for a coffee in The Old Schoolhouse Cafe followed by a brisk walk up to Woodstock with my trusty assistant, Ruby (Fox Terrier). This would be followed by an afternoon in Kilkenny browsing the great shops here and calling into The Gift Horse to help out for a bit. An ideal evening would be a quick drink in Tynan’s followed by an early bird in Campagne - where you get unbelievable food and value.
Who has made the greatest contribution to Kilkenny in your lifetime — and why?
As a blow-in, I would have to say the Butler family purely for the great visual legacy they’ve left.
What’s your first Kilkenny memory?
As a family we used to visit Rinuccini’s for a special treat/birthday. All my family are in the hospitality business and own the Horse and Jockey hotel so all these excursions were great experiences and my dad always paid!
What’s your favourite part of the county — and why?
I’m living in Inistioge for a while now and it still takes my breath away every evening I drive south on the way home.
Do you have a favourite local writer or author?
I really enjoyed Shirley Lannigan’s book ‘The Open Gardens of Ireland’ recently.
What about a favourite local walk — or view?
My favourite local walk would be the Barrow Walk in Graignamanagh. Hopefully it will stay unspoiled forever.
What do you think gives Kilkenny its unique identity?
Kilkenny is unbelievably fortunate to have inherited such a beautiful city with such interesting streets and buildings, the river, great walks and the castle. That together with the gorgeous countryside and great towns, not to mention great sportspeople, the strong arts culture and easygoing friendly local population, it’s definitely the envy of the South-East.
What’s the biggest challenge facing the county today?
It seems to me that Kilkenny has so much going for it and a super reputation with visitor numbers improving year on year. Lots of local employment is tied to this, making it very important how the city is branding itself and it’s plans for the future.
It’s been such a shame to see the old timber shopfronts replaced by PVC fronts and signage bearing no relation to the heritage of such a beautiful town.
If you had the power to change one thing in, or about Kilkenny, what would it be?
I would maybe say free parking in the City just because lots of people talk about it, although personally I like parking on the outskirts and strolling in.