My Kilkenny Life: Rory Leadbetter

Mary Cody


Mary Cody


My Kilkenny Life: Rory Leadbetter

Rory Leadbetter

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

I’d start my day with an early run. I love to get out for a run around Knockdrinna, off through the woods and I bring Milo our Rhodesian Ridgeback with me for the exercise. My ideal day in Kilkenny would have to include great food, possibly during Savour Kilkenny – a trip to the food fair with my wife Cheryl and our sons Ruan (4) and Seán (2) on the parade, followed by a walk and a visit to the playground in the Castle Park. In the evening a meal in Rinuccini and a few craft beers in Brewery Corner to round off the night.

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

Being a sports fan, I find it hard to look beyond Brian Cody and his back room team and players. They have given a great service to our county.

What’s your first Kilkenny memory?
Starting school in junior infants at the KSP on its first day of opening is another early memory. The school in those days was in the old Scout’s Hall on the Bennettsbridge Road. The classmates I met at the KSP are amongst some of my best friends today and about ten of us are all still in almost daily contact over 30 year on.

What’s your favourite part of the county - and why?
All along the River Nore. We spend a lot of time outdoors and we’re lucky in Kilkenny to have a well-developed series of walkways all along the river. The Kilkenny to Bennettsbridge walk is a favourite of mine along with the beautiful village of Inistioge where Cheryl and I had our first home together and all the meandering riverside walks between Inistioge and Thomastown.

What do you think gives Kilkenny its unique identity?
There’s a great tradition of small craft in the county. The Design and Crafts Council of Ireland is located here and I suppose that was a natural draw for craftspeople to come to the area. There are a lot of talented people hand creating their own products throughout the county. Between the food trail and the Made in Kilkenny craft trail there is a lot of creativity and fresh thinking in county and I think this really contributes to the spirit of Kilkenny.

Do you have a favourite local writer or author?
My old school principal, Tom Hunt, who sadly passed away a number of years ago, used to write short stories and contribute to various collections of essays. I always enjoyed reading his work.

What’s the biggest challenge facing the county today?
Kilkenny is a really popular tourist destination and hats off to Kilkenny Tourism for their continued efforts to keep Kilkenny relevant and an attractive proposition for visitors from Ireland and across the globe. Jerpoint Glass has worked closely with Kilkenny Tourism for years and they are trail-blazers when it comes to marketing the area. Many of our neighbouring counties are now following suit and this is a challenge for Kilkenny, for all the businesses that operate here to keep the offering fresh and come up with new ways to bring tourists to our county.

If you had the power to change on thing in, or about Kilkenny, what would it be?
I’d double the height of Brandon Hill! Walking and running are hobbies of mine and I’d love it if the county where I live had something on a par with the McGillicuddy Reeks - a really good challenge.