Tomorrow afternoon I will take a 2 hour journey by train from Adamstown station, near my home in Lucan, County Dublin.
I’m embarking on my yearly pilgrimage to the Marble City of Kilkenny in south-east Ireland, in order to attend the 4th annual edition of the ‘Kilkenomics‘ festival.
Me and David McWilliams, 2009
Kilkenomics is the brainchild of Irish “economist, broadcaster, journalist and best-selling author” David McWilliams. It has been running since 2010 and I’m delighted to say that I have been able to attend the event every year so far.
Kilkenomics “brings together some of the world’s leading economists, financial analysts and media commentators with some of our funniest, sharpest standup comedians”.
A total of 27 stimulating, entertaining (and sometimes hilarious) shows will be held at 4 venues across the medieval city from Thursday 7th to Sunday 10th – bringing together an eclectic mix of renowned economists and comedians from Ireland and further afield.
The first show I will be attending on Friday evening is entitled ‘SHOW ME THE MONEY: HOW DO WE MAKE MONEY WORK FOR US AND WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES?‘ and the main attraction at this show, for me and many others, will be the inimitable American broadcaster and commentator Max Keiser.
Me and Max Keiser, Kilkenomics 2012
One of the questions on the agenda for this show is “Can innovations like bitcoin and microcredit eventually bypass banks altogether?” and given my current obsession with Bitcoin I am eagerly awaiting Max’s insights on this topic – for instance, does he still think that one unit of Bitcoin could rise to a value of $700,000 ?- a development which would make me a very rich man indeed!
As usual, I’ll be staying at the Castle Lodge B&B where proprietor Liam Hennessy is always a gracious host. The rooms are modern, clean, comfortable and warm, the WIFI is fast and free, and Liam always provides a hearty breakfast to assist with the inevitable hangovers (from all the economic over-stimulation of course – not the free flowing Kilkenny beer!).
For lunch I can recommend Ristorante Rinucci on The Parade – located just across the road from Kilkenny Castle for some delicious and medium-priced Italian fare, washed down with wine and Peroni.
Later on in the day – before, after and in-between shows, most of the earnest (and hard-drinking) festival goers will gravitate towards ‘Langton’s‘ – a gigantic and labyrinthine 75-year old establishment on John Street that hosts multiple bars, numerous restaurants, a night-club, a hotel and a state of the art venue called The Set Theatre in which 11 of this year’s shows will take place.
I actually had a meal in Langton’s while on my (first!) honeymoon way back in 1995 but didn’t remember this fact until I set foot in the place again at the first Kilkenomics festival in 2010 and got an immediate sense of déjà vu!
However, my absolute favourite pub in Kilkenny is Cleere’s on Parliament Street where a roaring fire and friendly atmosphere are always found. I’m looking forward to catching up with the charismatic Johnny behind the bar, who’s a good man to talk to if you are looking for a ticket for a sold-out show in the function room at the back of the pub (but keep that information to yourself!).
Every year David always manages to spare a bit of his over-worked time, usually on the Saturday evening, to meet up with some of the prolific contributors to his long-running blog on his website here. I’m hoping that this year will be no exception to that tradition!
To finish, here’s a video that anticipates the fun this weekend. Hope to see you there!