My Kilkenny Life: Naoise Coogan

Mary Cody

Reporter:

Mary Cody

Email:

mary.cody@kilkennypeople.ie

My Kilkenny Life: Naoise Coogan

Naoise Coogan

Naoise is Corporate Communications Manager with Glanbia PLC. She spent many years working as a journalist in radio and newspapers in Kilkenny prior to her role in Glanbia. She lives with her husband John and two children Siofra and Fiadh and their boxer Brucie, in Jenkinstown, Co Kilkenny. 


What's your idea of a perfect day in Kilkenny?
My perfect day begins with a coffee and some chocolate before heading for a run in Jenkinstown woods. After that I would clean the house a little as there is no time during the week and then head for town. I would take a walk around Kieran Street and have a look at the boutiques and maybe get my nails done in Image Beauty on Rose Inn Street! I would meet some friends for coffee and catch up on the week and then head home to the kids and prepare for a night out with my husband. Ideally we would go for a drink to the Dylan or Hibernian and maybe eat in one of our favourite restaurants – Rive Gauche or Zuni. The perfect day!

Who has made the greatest contribution to Kilkenny in your lifetime - and why?

The photographer, Pat Moore who passed away last year after battling cancer for a number of months. It was exceptionally sad. He touched so many peoples’ lives as he captured every event that ever happened on his camera. He began work with me in the Kilkenny Advertiser newspaper in 2006 and his first published picture was of my eldest daughter at the count centre in Cillin Hill during an election. He was hired from then! I miss him a lot. He was a great friend and he did so much for Kilkenny groups and organisations free gratis. His commitment to the Chernobyl children and other charities was also remarkable. And he loved animals. A great man - who was much loved by his friends in the media world in Kilkenny and beyond - and who is much missed now by us all.

What's your first Kilkenny memory?

My first Kilkenny memory was when I came to Radio Kilkenny for an interview for a job in the newsroom. CEO at the time, Diarmuid Healy was interviewing and I had just returned home from travelling for two years but had been working as a newsreader in Limerick prior to my departure. Needless to say I knew nothing of Kilkenny politics at the time as it was my first time ever in Kilkenny. When asked about my knowledge of the local political climate – I looked at him blankly before finally telling him frankly that I honestly had no clue, but that I was a very willing and eager student and would learn all this stuff super-fast!! I thought after I left - I haven’t a hope of getting this job! However, I was pleasantly surprised!


What's your favourite part of the county - and why?

My favourite part of the county outside of where I live myself in Jenkinstown - is Castlecomer. My husband comes from the town and I think it is a great place with so much community spirit and so much generosity. The people are friendly and if ever there is a worthy cause – they will give their last cent to contribute. The community spirit can be seen in the annual events that take place there every year - Castlecomer Pantomime happens every January with a huge input from local children and adults. The Wellie Race happens every New Year’s Day and attracts crowds from around the county. The Festival of Lights takes place over Christmas and the amazing Castlecomer Dscovery Park was brought to life with exceptional amenities by local people with an interest in rejuvenating the area. Then of course I have to mention the Avalon House Hotel which happens to belong to my sister in law and her family! This is the most beautiful boutique hotel with great food, music and craic. This new addition to the town is the icing on the cake. It was planned and built by Joe Comerford who tragically died last year but thankfully he lived to see the fruits of his labour. Now his children Jimmy and Jane take up the gauntlet and follow in the footsteps of their impressive Dad.

What do you think gives Kilkenny its unique identity?

I think it is its arts and cultural offering. We are so lucky to have so many amazing cultural experiences on our doorstep – such as Kilkenny Castle, Rothe House, St Canices’ Cathedral and Tower, The Butler Gallery - which is moving house to Evans Home this year and our Medieval Mile Museum, which has been hugely popular since its opening. 


Do you have a favourite local writer or author?

Helena Duggan is a local writer who has written several childrens’ books including A Place Called Perfect. It is hard to become an author these days as people are writing books through ghost writers and it seems anyone can now be an author But Helena’s books are special and creative and worth a read for both adults and kids. 


What's the biggest challenge facing the county today?

There are two answers to this question that do not just concern Kilkenny but the whole country and they need no explanation – homelessness and our health system – no need to say any more…


If you had the power to change one thing in, or about Kilkenny, what would it be?

I’ve tried to think of something but am at a loss – there is nothing I would change – I love Kilkenny just the way it is…