The creative highlights of County Kilkenny were celebrated on Friday May 3rd by Minister Catherine Martin, who was in town at the invitation of her Green Party colleague, Minister Malcolm Noonan. Minister Martin, who has responsibility for tourism, culture and the arts, joined Minister Noonan to meet with a wide range of local stakeholders, including some of Kilkenny’s leading lights.
The visit began with tours of the much-celebrated Cartoon Saloon headquarters and Lighthouse animation studios, followed by engaging conversation with the organisations’ founders and directors. Next, the two Ministers went on to Billy Byrne’s for a roundtable discussion with key representatives from the festivals sector in Kilkenny, including Director of Tourism and Festivals at Kilkenny County Council, Martina Comerford, Director of Services at Kilkenny County Council, Tim Butler, Arts Officer Olga Barry (Arts Week Festival), Marian Flannery (Savour Kilkenny, St Patrick’s Festival and Tradfest), John Cleere (Roots Festival), and Naoise Nunn (Cat Laughs, Kilkenomics and Kilkenny Animated).
After a networking lunch, the next stop was the head offices of the Heritage Council to discuss the coordination and management of county archives with CEO, Virginia Teehan. Also on the agenda was the Heritage Council’s and Creative Ireland’s work with local authorities and communities. They then took a tour of the Butler Gallery with Chair of the Board, Kathleen Moran, and Director, Anna O’Sullivan.
Reflecting on the visit, Minister Noonan said: “Kilkenny delivers way beyond its size in terms of creative and cultural impact, and our reputation as a hub for the arts is well deserved. It was fantastic to be able to introduce my colleague Minister Martin to some of the local people leading the way for Kilkenny, and discuss development opportunities for the city, the wider region and the sector as a whole.”
Minister Martin said of her time in Kilkenny: “I feel privileged to be able to come to places such as Kilkenny that have been shaped by their wealth of tradition but that are also being shaped by wonderful innovation. It’s encouraging to know that my Department has had a helping hand in that development and evolution and satisfying to see how far-reaching the influence has been and can be. Indeed, I very much look forward to returning in the future to experience how our continued investment has borne fruit within each of the sectors we met with today. Thank you to Minister Noonan and everyone involved.”