What’s your idea of a perfect day, or perfect weekend out in Kilkenny?
I’d get the day off to a great start with a yoga practice. We love to go out for breakfast. Our current favourite breakfast spots are Arán and Toast of Thomastown – the breakfast burrito is to die for! The afternoon would be spent walking along the Nore from Kilkenny to Bennettsbridge, this is a beautiful walk or taking the kids to work off some energy – Newpark Hotel is great for this while we relax over coffee. In the evening a quick stop at Zuni for a Raspberry Tom Collins, then on to Rinuccini for dinner.
Who has made the greatest contribution to Kilkenny in your lifetime - and why?
When the KSP school opened in 1987, with just 92 students and three teachers I think this was a key societal change within the community. The child-centred approach that the school still adopts today helped me to feel respected as an individual and empowered to express my opinions and perhaps to break away a more parochial views. There were several parents driving the school project but key among them were Julie Calder-Potts and Fergus Cronin. I’m thrilled now that my children are enrolled there and can benefit from this special school.
What’s your first Kilkenny memory?
All my early memories are of Kilkenny having grown up here. We’d come into Kilkenny City to shop at the ‘L&N’ or visit The Monster House department store or go to the Castle Park. One stand-out memory was in Rothe House. All the children sat on the cobbles to see a play about a butterfly and it was very exciting because the character was played by one of the Bosco presenters. I was completely and utterly transported by the performance, now I can never cross the courtyard in Rothe House without thinking about it.
What’s your favourite part of the county - and why?
Woodstock House and gardens has a special place in my heart. We spent lots of time there as children, walking through the woods and climbing trees. We dubbed the bamboo garden ‘Bamboo Land’. Woodstock holds so many great memories for me and we revisit them with our family often.
What do you think gives Kilkenny its unique identity?
It’s Kilkenny’s creative spirit. This spirit is found across the county and in every sector with a multitude of places to visit like local craft studios, artisanal food producers and unique stores.
Do you have a favourite local writer or author?
I’ve always loved lyrics and one of the greatest Irish song writers is living in Kilkenny but originally from Cork, Jimmy McCarthy. When I lived away and got homesick I would blast his album out to feel closer to home.
What’s the biggest challenge facing the county today?
Local business is faced with the challenge of competing with the convenience of online shopping. I definitely advocate for shopping local as we don’t want to lose our identity and turn into another generic high street.
If you had the power to change one thing what would it be?
I would love a bit of coastline and a roller-disco!