What’s your idea of a perfect day, or perfect weekend out in Kilkenny?
I love when there is a market in town, either the regular Thursday market or one that has popped up for a festival. I really enjoy the sense of community that has built up at the Thursday market. There is nothing better than grabbing a coffee, buying good food and catching up with friends. After that it is nice to have a wander around town, pick up another coffee, this time from the Little Green Grocer.
Who has made the greatest contribution to Kilkenny in your lifetime - and why?
It has to be Cóilín Ó Drisceoil. His knowledge and understanding of Kilkenny’s history is unsurpassed. It’s not just his knowledge though, it is his willingness to share it with the community.
What’s your first Kilkenny memory?
The sheer size of Kilkenny Castle and the grounds. I came for a day trip years ago and I was overwhelmed. I had been working as an archaeologist on a castle site. All that was left upstanding was a few portions of walls. Kilkenny Castle fueled my imagination and helped me see what the castle in the ground may have looked like.
What’s your favourite part of the county - and why?
It isn’t a part as such but Rothe House is a little bit of magic. I could spend all day in the house and the garden. This might sound strange but I love to sit on the bench in front of the court house. It has a perfect view of Rothe, it really gets my imagination going. I think about Grace’s Castle, and the other buildings that once stood in the area. I get ideas for stories and plays that I hope to turn into theatre.
What do you think gives Kilkenny its unique identity?
As the monks used to say, there must be something in the water. There is such a strong sense of community, of supporting each other’s successes and commiserating when things go wrong. I believe its tied to the fabric of the city. Walking through slips that have changed little over the last few hundred years grounds us. We are surrounded in history more so than in many other places and I believe it connects us.
Do you have a favourite local writer or author?
I have to mention two. Helena Duggan is a gift, not just to children, but to people of all ages. Her sense of mischief and warmth is immense and fuels her stories. The other is John Morton, his understanding of Irish wit and psyche leaps out in all of his plays.
What’s the biggest challenge facing the county today?
Like most counties we have a housing shortage, we have a lack of support for people with mental health issues and we are lacking in facilities for young people. The Brewery Quarter is an ideal location to address these problems but that seems unlikely now.