What’s your idea of a perfect day, or perfect weekend out in Kilkenny?
My focus at the weekend is spending time with family. Both of our children are enthusiastic sportswomen – one into basketball and the other show jumping. So if there’s a match or show happening, that will take preference! We also love our food at one of the many excellent restaurants in Kilkenny.
Who has made the greatest contribution to Kilkenny in your lifetime - and why?
I have been privileged to have met many wonderful people through my involvement with the Kilkenny Business Awards. As well as presenting 20 different categories of business awards, this event also recognises individual achievements with the Lifetime Achievement Award and President’s Award. Past recipients in recent years have included Rudolf Heltzel, Maureen O’Keeffe, Paddy Kenna, Pat Nolan, Jim Bourke, Billy Dalton, Margaret Ward, Brian Cody, Richard Cook, Kathleen Moran, Nora Twomey and Mag Kirwan. All have made fantastic contributions to Kilkenny in so many different ways over the years and it is because of their efforts and of people like them that Kilkenny is such a great place in which to work, live and play.
What’s your first Kilkenny memory?
Originally from Kerry, I first arrived in Kilkenny in April 1987 to take up a new job with the Hibernian Insurance Co and the whole county was covered in snow! I couldn’t believe it and wondered had I made the right choice in coming so far north to live! But within two days the snow was gone and the beautiful green landscapes of Kilkenny shone through. I am very happy to call it home now and my family is firmly settled here.
What’s your favourite part of the county - and why?
This has to be Kilkenny City because it has everything. It is both busy and bustling yet compact and accessible. It is a great city to visit for shopping, doing business or just to socialise. And with all its fantastic festivals, abundance of heritage sites to visit, an unrivalled choice of restaurants from Michelin Star to simple fare, superb range of shops and boutiques, there is always something new to do and experience.
What do you think gives Kilkenny its unique identity?
Kilkenny people are hugely proud of their city and county. They are great workers, highly innovative and very decent people. They live life to the full and this comes to the fore in their amazing passion for sport and particularly hurling!
What’s the biggest challenge facing the county today?
As with so many other parts of Ireland, the uncertainty of Brexit and the shortage of affordable houses are huge challenges.
If you had the power to change one thing in, or about Kilkenny, what would it be?
Kilkenny is such a fantastic place and the Kilkenny people are such a resourceful lot that the future is as bright as we want it to be. Bring that “can do” attitude that is so prevalent in our hurling into everything we do in our business and personal lives.