What's your idea of a perfect day, or perfect weekend out in Kilkenny?
A perfect day in Kilkenny to me would be lunch in Café la Coco with one of the girls followed by some shopping, Folkster and Yesterdays never disappoint. For night time you can’t beat dinner in Zuni and cocktails in Left Bank.
Who has made the greatest contribution to Kilkenny in your lifetime - and why?
Being born in 1990, I look back on the last 20 years with one vivid constant, Kilkenny in Croke Park in September. Though there are so many great Kilkenny people doing amazing things, it’s hard for me not to automatically think of Brian Cody and the incredibly successful teams he has managed over the years.
What's your first Kilkenny memory?
I think this would have to be coming up to Kilkenny on a Saturday shopping with my mother and granny. There was no motorway at the time, so it was like a big adventure going up for the day! Another one would be getting the juvenile bus from Mooncoin up to Croke Park with all of my school friends to watch a Kilkenny match.
What's your favourite part of the county - and why?
This is a hard one, but I’m from Mooncoin so I’ll have to go with Mooncoin! Though I have lived in Kilkenny city over the last few years, I still look forward to heading south at every chance I get. Anytime you mention being from Mooncoin, they usually know The Rose of Mooncoin, it’s great to have something that puts it on the map.
What do you think gives Kilkenny it's unique identity?
I think it’s the small, narrow streets and the compactness of the city that gives it that cosy feeling. There is always such a fantastic atmosphere in the city, I love when you see tourists walking around the grounds of the Castle and making their way down the Medieval Mile. For me, working in Sales for Newpark Hotel I always cherish any opportunity to sell not only Newpark but Kilkenny as a top class destination.
Do you have a favourite local writer or author?
I’m lucky enough to be great friends with Eoin Swithin Walsh, a fellow Mooncoiner! Eoin launched his first book Kilkenny: In Times of Revolution, 1900–1923, during Arts Festival last August. When I was in college Eoin inspired me to do my thesis on this topic, I’m thrilled his book is doing so well, he is so knowledgeable not only on this topic but on Irish history in general.
What's the biggest challenge facing the county today?
Apart from Fin-tech, agriculture and tourism, Kilkenny is not overly rich in employment in other major industries. For Kilkenny to continue to thrive, I believe it needs to try and attract more diverse industry. Through this we would see greater influx of people from a range of backgrounds. For example, Cartoon Saloon, having just received another well-deserved Oscar nomination this week and are one of the leading names in animation not just in Ireland but the world. Kilkenny must try and take advantage of the amazing things these organisations are doing and try to become a destination for the industry. In companies like Glanbia, State Street and Cartoon Saloon, we have real world leaders, but we must try and build on them and attract more.
If you had the power to change on thing in, or about Kilkenny, what would it be?
I would love to see more advantage being taken of the beautiful Nore river, running directly through the heart of the city. Apart from the River Court hotel on Johns Street, there are not a huge amount of options for visitors to sit and take in the beautiful sights along the river.