My Kilkenny Life: Shauna McHugh

Shaunan is a journalism student at NUI Galway and is currently on a three-month internship at the Kilkenny People newspaper

Mary Cody


Mary Cody


My Kilkenny Life: Shauna McHugh

Shauna McHugh

What's your idea of a perfect day, or perfect weekend out in Kilkenny?
My perfect day would involve retail therapy in MacDonagh Junction or Market Cross, my favourite shops are Quiz, H&M and of course Penney’s! For a break in between shopping, I’d grab lunch in Fragola cafe, which has become a new favourite for my sister and I. In the evening, I’d probably watch a film in IMC cinema with friends. To end the perfect day, I would have to head to Biddy Early’s, who serve amazing cocktails!

Who has made the greatest contribution to Kilkenny in your lifetime - and why?
Brian Cody will forever be a hero to my generation. Memories of him consistently showing up at my school to present the latest cup they had won still make me smile, and it’s probably a similar story for hundreds of other Kilkenny school kids who have since grown up.

What’s your first Kilkenny memory?
I moved here with my family at four years old. My earliest memories of Kilkenny are of navigating my new school in St. John’s on Michael Street as the new girl with a weird English accent!

What's your favourite part of the county - and why?
Two of my favourite spots are Jenkinstown Woods, or Woodstock Gardens in Inistioge. They’re both such beautiful trails to just wander around for a while. Having a few minutes to myself in all that open space often gives me time to clear my head.

What do you think gives Kilkenny its unique identity?
It’s a modern city, with great shops to choose from, as well as a huge variety of restaurants and pubs. Yet Kilkenny never became an over industrialised concrete jungle like Dublin. There are still beautiful, scenic and rural parts to Kilkenny. It has retained its identity as a medieval city.

Do you have a favourite local writer or author?

Frances Cotter was my Leaving Cert English teacher in the Presentation. I remember being amazed that she had so many of her own creative writing projects going on, as well as being an excellent teacher. She was such a passionate writer that her enthusiasm was just infectious, and she fostered my own love of writing. She was a huge source of encouragement in my choice to study journalism at NUI Galway.

What's the biggest challenge facing the county today?
Sadly youth unemployment is quite a significant problem in Kilkenny. Myself and many of my friends here have struggled finding part time jobs to fund ourselves through college during the past few years. I think young people should be offered more work experience opportunities or CV tips before they leave school.

If you had the power to change one thing in, or about Kilkenny, what would it be?
I really think it’s about time that Kilkenny had a higher education facility of its own. The Carlow IT campus puts us to shame. It’s a pity that all we’ve had is a section of the Maynooth campus. After living in Galway for the past two years, I believe that students can be a huge benefit to cities, both for the economy and culture there.