29 Jun 2022

My Kilkenny Life - Derek Dooley

Actor and teacher Derek Dooley talks about life in Kilkenny and what it means to him

My Kilkenny Life - Derek Dooley

Teacher and actor, Derek Dooley speaks about life in Kilkenny. He appears in the play, Trad all this week in Cleere's

Derek Dooley appears in the comedy play, Trad at Cleere's Theatre, Kilkenny all this week. It's a must see and below he explains what he loves about his native Kilkenny

What is your idea of a perfect day or weekend out in Kilkenny ?
A walk in the Castle Park and to saunter the streets of Kilkenny and absorb the history and atmosphere and saying hello to whoever you bump into on the town! As for the weekend, can’t beat a Saturday night in The Hole in the Wall. Reminds me so much of the Mowlers. Plus the music provided the amazingly talented Danny Burke, legend, couldn’t ask for better. Few pints in Syd Harkins and anywhere that takes your fancy after that. During the week then, can’t beat one of the best pints of Guinness in town in Seamus Delaney’s in Patrick Street, a hurling museum, where some serious hurling analysis goes on! You might wear a helmet in case you get a belt of a loose sliothar!
Who has made the greatest contribution to Kilkenny in your lifetime?
Volunteers, the unsung heroes known to us all, who give of themselves selflessly to ensure the best and most important things we have in Kilkenny are kept going for the good of all.
What is your first Kilkenny memory?
Shopping in Woolworths which had Kilkenny’s first pick n’ mix sweet counter. Santa in the Monster House and Good’s. The L&N, High St; tea and sambos in the little side door in the Tholsel Bar. The chickens roasting in the window of Elliot’s corner shop on The Parade. Browne’s and Bourke’s shops on High Street. (better stop I’m being to feel ancient!).
Where is your favourite part of the county and why?
My first and closest to my heart is the area of Burnchurch where I went to school. It is a beautiful area and richly historic. As children we had the majestic 12th century castle of the Fitzgerald’s in Burnchurch. The areas of Harristown, Templeorum and Kilfane because of deep family heritage. I also feel very at home in the beautiful medieval town of Thomastown where I teach. Also the village of Kells and the magnificent Augustinian Priory and a pint in Delaney’s. Then Ennisnag with its beautiful little church and pint in Sheridan’s Pub where we hurl, fish and sort out the world’s problems!
What do you think gives Kilkenny its unique identity?
The warmth and friendliness of its people along with its history and heritage.
Do you have a favourite local writer or author?
Gerry Moran. Love anything he writes. His humour and his deep feeling for Kilkenny along with his ability to get into heart of what he writes about does it for me!
What’s the biggest challenge facing the county today?
I think we must open our eyes and our hearts to the poor and the homeless in our city and county and try to provide good housing and services to those in need. Care for those with mental health problems especially young people, crying out for help and support.
If you had the power to change one thing in or about Kilkenny, what would it be?
I would love to see Kells Priory being developed and take its place as one of Irelands and indeed Europe’s top heritage sites! Also I would love to see the re-erection of Kilkenny’s famous Market Cross, which stood in the centre of Kilkenny for 436 years beside the Tholsel. Replace the old street signs which had the Irish translations in old Irish font, instead of the bland modern ones which took their place.

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