What's your idea of a perfect day, or perfect weekend out in Kilkenny?
I had an amazing weekend at the Cat Laughs festival. The choice and variety of comedy was good. I ended each night over the long weekend in either The Set listening to Melty Brains or in Billy Byrnes at the festival club. My ordinary perfect day would start off with avocado toast in Cafe la Coco with a delicious almond latte. Then a stroll around the Castle Park with family or friends. I feel so grateful to live in a small city where restaurants make an effort to provide diverse menus. Lunch from Helen Costello’s is a must and dinner in Truffles or Petronella’s where we can have vegan food that is equal to restaurants in any big city.
Who has made the greatest contribution to Kilkenny in your lifetime - and why?
I love the fact that we have two world class galleries opposite each other. The National Craft gallery and The Butler Gallery both offer both locals and tourists a taste of art and craft at the highest levels.
What’s your first Kilkenny memory?
One of my first memories of Kilkenny was a scorching summers days in the rose garden. The water fountain sprayed me with cool water. I felt brave and stood on the edge and slipped. It was my first and last swim in the fountain.
What's your favourite part of the county - and why?
My favourite part of the county is the Barrow Walk with Tomm from Graiguenamanagh to St Mullins where we can stop off for a coffee during the summer months. It’s an easy stroll with beautiful views from the banks.
What do you think gives Kilkenny it's unique identity?
Kilkenny’s association with the KDW (Kilkenny Design Workshops) has created a focus on craft design that is world class. Due to the culture of Art and Craft in Kilkenny since the establishment of KDW we now attract leaders in the fields of Art, Design, Craft and Animation.
Do you have a favourite local writer or author?
I collaborated with a friend who is a musician Kairen Waloch. She wrote the music and words for a song in a documentary that I directed and produced in 2014. The song was nominated for a number of awards since.
What’s the biggest challenge facing the county today?
The biggest challenge facing Kilkenny today is the treatment of animals. How we treat those who cannot speak or protect themselves reflects badly on us as humans. I am ashamed of Kilkenny when it’s in the media for mistreatment of animals or when a poor horse is left hungry and dying in a field surrounded by people who turn a blind eye. There are great rescue centres in Kilkenny who work tirelessly and selflessly to help these animals in need.
If you had the power to change on thing in, or about Kilkenny, what would it be?
I would change the laws of animal welfare and make it easier to prosecute those who neglect or harm an animal.