A proud Kilkenny man Arthur Drohan has been running Ryan’s on Friary Street for the past 14 years. He lives with his partner Aggie and is father to Jayne.
What’s your idea of a perfect day, or perfect weekend out in Kilkenny?
A perfect day in Kilkenny would involve a walk down the canal and further on down towards Bretts Weir, taking in all the sights sounds and smells of nature five minutes from the centre of our beautiful city. I would stroll back to town, call into Rollercoaster to check out new releases and have a chat with the lads, then into The Yard Cafe for a cuppa and a sandwich and catch up with good friends, if it’s a dry or sunny day I’d have my trusty Nikon camera with me and I’d be shooting as I walk, maybe down to St Canice’s Tower to climb to the top and take in the view (it never gets old). In the afternoon I’d take my motorbike out and go for a spin to Inistioge or Graig have lunch and maybe have time to read the Irish Times cover to cover whilst relaxing by the river and head back to town as the sun sets over the Marble City - perfection
Who has made the greatest contribution to Kilkenny in your lifetime - and why?
My great friend the late Willie Meighan, his contribution to the town in his short life is imeasurable - most people would know him from the record shop, but Willlie had many strands to his life. He was first and foremost a ‘friend’. His contribution to the arts scene in the last 20 years was massive, he brought many world class artists to our little city. His knowledge and understanding meant he forged a bond with all these people and the Rollercoaster community has grown world wide, the Marble city has become a music city primarily because of his influence, but he was a quiet private man who was the glue that held us all together, always there for everyone. I’d put him in the same category as Hubert Butler, to often his own detriment his main objective was the common good.
What's your first Kilkenny memory?
My earliest memory is being brought down town by my mother during one of the early beer festivals and being amazed by all the noise and the crowds.
What’s your favourite part of the county - and why?
The beautiful village of Inistioge with Woodstock Gardens and the river vistas are simply amazing.
What do you think gives Kilkenny it's unique identity?
It’s unique identity is its size - small city or big village? And the people who have a great sense of community - everyone pulls together coupled with our many historic buildings and sites.
Do you have a favourite local writer or author?
My favourite writer would have to be Hubert Butler whose honesty in his writings brought him into conflict with both church and state.
What’s the biggest challenge facing the county today?
The biggest challenge, like the entire country, is to create more employment, Kilkenny doesn’t have any real industry,so we rely on tourism, we need to develop this even more to take on the other areas like the Wild Atlantic Way. We need to adapt and diversify to offer a greater experience in Kilkenny.
If you had the power to change on thing in, or about Kilkenny, what would it be?
What I’d like to change is to give back more power to our local elected representatives, we need more local input into descisions which affect our lives in Kilkenny.