We were delighted to receive a Civic Honour from Mayor of Kilkenny Andrew McGuinness recently. We were presented with a Mayoral Certificate to acknowledge our ‘contribution to local music and in the promotion of Kilkenny City overseas.’
Here is the speech made by Andrew on the night:
Good evening everybody,
You are all very welcome to City Hall this evening for a very special occasion – To acknowledge and honour the huge contribution to local music and the promotion of Kilkenny over seas by local musicians The Kilkennys.
One of the more enjoyable duties I have as Mayor of Kilkenny is to acknowledge significant achievements by our citizens whether it’s welcoming home our All Ireland victors, recognising the huge contribution to peace keeping abroad by our soldiers, commending those who helped Kilkenny achieve the title of Tidiest Town in Ireland or acknowledging a group of musicians in Kilkenny who have promoted our city through their music in every corner of the world.
I am honoured and privileged to do so and I am very proud, as Mayor of Kilkenny, to be in a position to be able to honour a group of individuals who I believe are Kilkennys musical ambassadors.
A lot of us in this room grew up together and sometimes, because we know each other so well, we might overlook or underestimate each others achievements. You might meet Davey Cashin having a pint in Tynans or Robbie Campion in Bobs Bar in Durrow, but the week before they may have been performing to thousands of fans in Germany or Holland or on the rooftop of the Aloft Hotel in Abu Dhabi.
In recent years The Kilkennys have travelled all over the world, selling out theatres and being returned for tours that just keep getting bigger and bigger. There seems to be a new tour announced every week and right now you will see dates all over Europe and the UK on their website and speculation of dates in America and even China to be announced soon.
No matter where they go or how big their shows get, Davey Cashin, Robbie campion, Davey Long and Tommy Mackey always come home to Kilkenny grounded and unaffected by the hype abroad, as if they have just finished a gig in the local pub.
You need look no further than the bands Facebook page to see how popular The Kilkennys have become outside of Ireland. Sometimes their Facebook page reminds me of a politicians, because as you know, politicians cannot please everybody, and neither can The Kilkennys. When the band announces a new tour, the majority of the comments are What about Canada, when will you visit Australia, there’s Kilkennys fans in Poland too you know and it goes on, such is the demand for this band all over the world. They may start protesting in Scotland if the band don’t return soon.
Over 20,000 fans have gathered on that page and it doesn’t matter if they are from Germany, Denmark or Honk Kong, they still get regular updates about how great the Kilkenny is and how well our hurling team is doing. No matter where in the world those fans are, they know where we are and thanks to The Kilkennys many of them have visited the city as a result.
In fact, only recently, I had a journalist from a Dutch magazine call to city hall to feature Kilkennys music scene and nightlife in a four page spread. When I asked him why he came he said he heard the Kilkennys in Holland and Davey Cashin sent him. It’s a small world. Well it is for The Kilkennys who performed in Switzerland last night and getting ready for Berlin in a couple of weeks.
A number of years ago I saw first hand just how Kilkenny benefits from these musicians over seas. Following a powerful performance in front of over 5,000 people in the Czech Republic, I watched as a queue formed for autographs and photos with the band.
When they were asked by fans what exactly a Kilkenny was, the band responded with facts and slogans that would put tourism Ireland in the shade.
I’m not sure everything was entirely true but Kilkenny certainly became a must visit destination for the majority of those Czech fans.
The band are so proud of where they are from that not only did they name themselves after our city, they also created a page on their website that’s dedicated to encouraging people to visit Kilkenny.
At home, The Kilkennys have been un-officially given the civic duty of welcoming home our hurlers each year through their Home Coming performances, and why wouldn’t they, with their hit Shine On Kilkenny being belted out at every opportunity in Croke Park.
They have headlined numerous charity fundraisers for local organisations and only recently they headlined the Mayors Christmas concert that helped me to raise funds to help local families in need. For that I say thank you and without your input it would not have been possible.
They have appeared on Up For The Match more times than I can remember and numerous national radio and television shows and they have performed in every nook and cranny the length and breadth of Ireland, promoting Kilkenny at every opportunity.
Every county in Ireland is full of music and Kilkenny has to be at the top of the list in terms of the high standard and shear volume of musicians we have performing all of the time.
Its not easy for a group to set themselves apart from everybody else but, and I don’t mean any offence to other musicians, in The Kilkennys case, the cream always rises to the top and we should all be very proud of how this group of young musicians, who started in the Cave Bar almost 20 years ago, have become a household name right across Europe, Scandinavia, the UK and parts of America.
They have shown a level of professionalism, determination, dedication and commitment to hard work that is second to none. I often referred to them as Irelands hardest working band and I think most of you will agree that is true.
I want to pay special tribute to manager Noel Carthy who, lets face it, had a major task at hand in keeping these guys out of trouble. He managed to show The Kilkennys the extent of what their music and talents could actually achieve. He made them believe in themselves and become the fantastic showmen they are today. Noel has opened up doors for The Kilkennys that has led them onto greater things.
I also want to mention Adrian Cashin, who had a huge impact on the bands career so far and he has always believed that they will go far. He was not wrong.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the late Mick Watson who sadly left us recently. Mick was the bands number one fan. He was passionate about The Kilkennys and I think its safe to say that each member of the band holds a very special place in their hearts for him. If Mick were still alive he would certainly be here tonight.
On a personal note, I want to say that I am very proud of how far The Kilkennys have come. I grew up with the lads, played in a band with Davey Long, held a residency in Kytelers Inn with Davey Cashin, and we have many stories that I hope will never be told.
I remember driving the band to gigs in the back of an old Ford Transit and some of my fondest memories are from that time. I don’t think we would have believed it if we were told back then that I would be Mayor of the City and The Kilkennys would be selling out venues all over the world. Who knows what the next twenty years will bring.
I hope that you accept this acknowledgment, on behalf of the city, as a small token of appreciation for your contribution to local music and for promoting Kilkenny in such a positive way but also as encouragement to continue following your dream, creating great music, performing to sold out venues while taking a little piece of Kilkenny with you everywhere you go.