Mayor of Kilkenny, Peter 'Chap' Cleere
What’s your idea of a perfect day, or perfect weekend out in Kilkenny?
Perfect day for me would be a trip into Kilkenny with all the family. Head straight to the Castle Park, down to the playground, and a nice walk around the grounds. There is just something special about Kilkenny Castle and the park. We are so lucky to have such an amazing piece of history on our doorstep. I have to say Savour Kilkenny Festival this year was absolutely amazing.
Who has made the greatest contribution to Kilkenny in your lifetime - and why?
There are so many people who have made such a massive contribution to Kilkenny. From a sporting, musical, political, cultural and community perspective i think it’s almost impossible to pick just one!
What’s your first Kilkenny memory?
My first Kilkenny memory is heading into Nowlan Park as a young chap with my father to watch Kilkenny hurling games in the National League. We would stop off then in The Pike Bar or The Fox and Goose on the way home for a drink and a bag of crisps or bar of chocolate!
What’s your favourite part of the county - and why?
My favourite part of the county would have to be my homeplace, Skeoughvosteen. I was born and reared here, and though I have travelled and lived in other parts of the country, I love the sense of community in the place and the many many friendships that I have made over the years.
What do you think gives Kilkenny its unique identity?
Kilkenny is a city and county where we value our heritage, culture, tradition and our history, but we also celebrate its diversity. However, for me it’s the people which gives Kilkenny its unique identity. Since I have become Mayor, I have been very fortunate to meet so many brilliant people right around the county. People who give up so much of their time for the betterment of their communities, it’s just brilliant to see. I have witnessed first hand ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
Do you have a favourite local writer or author?
I love reading biographies, and I have read Henry Shefflin’s, Jackie Tyrrell’s, Charlie Carter and Brian Cody’s books from front to back in one sitting! I’m looking forward to reading the legend Tommy Walsh’s biography whenever it comes out. A guaranteed best seller!
What’s the biggest challenge facing the county today?
We have many challenges facing the county today. Mental health is a significant issue and despite some brilliant work locally by the likes of Teac Tom, is totally underfunded by this government and needs to be increased significantly. Broadband is a also a huge issue especially in rural parts of the county. Also, whilst we have seen improvements, there is still a serious shortfall of housing supply in Kilkenny and this is a challenge. Also, having not won the All Ireland in a few years, we have to get back to Croke Park on All Ireland Final Day - one hopefully we can overcome this year..
If you had the power to change on thing in, or about Kilkenny, what would it be?
If I could change one thing, I would make sure that Kilkenny would get a third level educational campus immediately. I know plans are in place for a Technological University of the South East, but for me i think Kilkenny should be the centre of this new campus, and it should be located in the Abbey Quarter.