The two Awards in the gift of Kilkenny Chamber were announced on 18th November, to celebrate the annual Kilkenny Business Awards.  The President’s Prize was awarded to Bobby Kerr, and the Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Kitty Donohoe, from Goresbridge Horse Sales. 

“The President’s Award is an accolade that has been presented annually, since 2012, by the Chamber President, to someone who is well-known, has a connection to Kilkenny and has made an important and significant contribution in business and community, in Kilkenny and nationally. This year’s recipient is Bobby Kerr.”

Bobby is a proud Kilkenny man who has always maintained strong links with his native City. He learned about hospitality from his father, who had led the consortium that built the landmark Newpark Hotel, Kilkenny’s first Grade A hotel. These days Bobby is best known for his roles in Insomnia and Newstalk. His media career began as a ‘Dragon’ where he participated in the first four series of Dragon’s Den and still retains an interest in eight businesses that he backed on the show.

You can watch a video interview from Bobby, accepting the award here

“It is the Chamber’s pleasure to announce that the Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Kitty Donohoe of Goresbridge Horse Sales.

Kitty Donohoe was the driving force behind the family business, Goresbridge Horse Sales, which was started in 1968 by her husband, Ned. His untimely death in 1978 placed her, a non-horsey 42 year old mother of nine children with another baby on the way, at the helm of what has become Europe’s largest auctioneer of sport horses. Kitty was the first woman appointed to the Irish Horse Board. She drove the business forward, while raising her young family, displaying a model of can-do attitude to all who did business with her.

Here’s a link to a video interview with Kitty, shot by Mettle Media

The annual Kilkenny Business Awards in Lyrath Estate Hotel is a highlight of the business calendar and an important networking event in the lead up to Christmas socialising. Like much of Irish business life it has had to adapt in 2020 because of Covid-19.  John Hurley, CEO, explains:

“The Board were determined that we continued our November tradition. In a year when so many businesses have creatively dealt with the very difficult circumstances for trade it is hugely important to recognise the resilience of Kilkenny business. It is also vital that we remind everybody of the importance of supporting local business, whether online or in person where possible, and by purchasing Kilkenny Gift Vouchers for staff and friends.

There are two categories which are always in the gift of the Chamber President: the President’s Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The President’s Award is presented to someone who has made a significant contribution to business in Kilkenny. Their influence is impactful & resonates with many in our community.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to someone who, during their entire business career, has made an exceptional contribution to the business dynamic of Kilkenny and has helped put Kilkenny the map as a great place to live and do business.

The recipients of these awards were announced on Wednesday 18th November on KCLR Live at 11.00 am, and celebrated with a dedicated Kilkenny People supplement on the same day.  An hour long Kilkenny Business Awards Special on KCLR was broadcast with the winners at 6pm on Thursday 19th November  Past winners of the Overall Business of the Year Awards were also celebrated.

CEO John Hurley, with Helen Carroll, MC, and Colin Ahern, President of Kilkenny Chamber at the 2019 Business Awards (photo Vicky Comerford)

You can relive the glamour and excitement of last year’s Awards here.

Chamber Update

For the duration of the Covid-19 crisis, Kilkenny Chamber staff will be working from home and will continue to provide our full range of services.



We will continue to lobby on behalf of businesses throughout this challenging time and are scheduled to have regular meetings with the Dept of the Taoiseach as the situation evolves.


Keep up to date with us on our website, or on our social media pages.


We are still working on your behalf and you can contact us on 056 7752767, or at We are thinking of all those businesses who have taken the difficult, but correct, decision to close their doors until further notice, and we look forward to supporting them all when they reopen.

We also encourage everyone to support those businesses which will remain open – in so far as is safe.


Thank you to all those front-line workers who are working hard to keep us all safe and well.

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