Culture and heritage is what forges us, what makes us. Through our sport, our heritage, our art, all the unique and irreplaceable stories, the people who make up our communities: every village and town in Kildare has its own story that nowhere else can tell. We learn about ourselves, we discover who we are, we learn about others through culture, and that is why it is so crucial: because it is people coming together, to listen to, create or tell stories, on the football field, on the stage, in a gallery. It’s our identity as Kildare people, it makes us who we are.

I’m proud of my contribution to the arts in Kildare – I was a founder of the Bealtine (now Junefest) festival in Newbridge, and of the Riverbank Arts centre.  I have always been an enthusiastic supporter of the arts. I truly see culture as something that not only brings us great enjoyment and a welcome relief from the daily stresses of our lives, but a way to bring us together, as something that binds us, fostering inclusion and creating strong, vibrant communities.

Across Kildare, we have a great range of arts centres, with fourteen libraries, ten theatres, two cinemas, eleven galleries and six museums. There are nine parks and twenty two playgrounds, community centres, community halls and youth centres. Then there’s the fantastic  amount of sports facilities, with a huge number, sixty six GAA clubs, fifty three soccer and seven rugby clubs. There’s always an opportunity, even in our smallest villages to take part in sport and be right in the heart of the community.