Making the most of new ventures, while retaining all that is good
Full restaurants and a resolve to preserve the great old high street show a confident city, writes Thomas Molloy
RINUCCINI'S, the excellent but pricey restaurant looking on to Kilkenny Castle, was almost full on Wednesday evening as a mixture of locals and half-term visitors to the Marble City tucked into excellent pasta dishes undeterred by a menu where a bottle of wine can, at the top end, set you back €250.
A visit to stylish secondhand clothes shop Shutterbug on Patrick Street the previous day revealed half a dozen shoppers anxious to snap up Blanaid Hennessy's quirky selection of antique clothing.
Kilkenny is not booming, but the shopfronts show signs of a slow pick-up right across the city. The garish pawnbrokers along John's Street, which offered to convert your gold into cash, are on the way out, while new stores specialising in niche products such as guitars, home decorations or mobile phone repairs are taking their place. The families that have dominated the gently winding High Street for generations, the Sherwoods, Pauls, Dores or Duggans, are still in business, and still doing a good job of keeping one of Ireland's most interesting streets free from the British chains which have left so many other towns and cities with identikit shopping areas.