Kilkenny Business Awards 2022 coming soon! Watch the highlights of the Kilkenny Business Awards 2021 here! 

Kilkenny’s Business of the Year was unveiled at the Kilkenny Business Awards 2021 held on Saturday 12th March, at the Conference Centre at Lyrath Estate Hotel.

The Kilkenny Chamber benchmarking standards criteria group considered 150 local applications for the Kilkenny Business Awards in 2021. 50 local enterprises were shortlisted for the peer interview round, hosted by Kilkenny Ormond Hotel and Pembroke Kilkenny in October. On the night, Kilkenny Chamber and main sponsors TransferMate revealed that Dores Optometrist is Kilkenny’s Business of the Year.

The full list of winners can be found here: Kilkenny Business Awards Winners 2021

450 local business people turned out to celebrate at the black-tie event. The evening began with a bubbly reception, followed by a four-course dinner and award ceremony with entertainment by The Party Girls. The annual gala event has not taken place for two years due to the Pandemic.

Speaking at the event, Colin Ahern, Kilkenny Chamber President, commented, 

“It feels like a lifetime ago since we all met in person at such an event. It is a treat to enjoy lovely food and good company, in a comfortable and welcoming setting. 50 companies shortlisted across 18 categories, it is a special privilege to recognise the best of Kilkenny Businesses tonight. Winners aside, all of the shortlisted businesses should be proud of their tremendous achievements in getting this far in the rigorous judging process.” 

Host and broadcaster Helen Carroll announced the 18 category awards winners, including an award for the Best Business Pivot in the Pandemic. The special award recognised a local company that faced the extraordinary challenges of the Pandemic and adapted their business to meet them. This award went to CF Pharma.

Two additional awards were announced, the President’s and the Lifetime Achievement awards. These awards are chosen at the discretion of the President and the Board of Kilkenny Chamber and pay tribute to individuals who in the opinion of the Chamber, have contributed significantly and positively through their careers and lifetime to the Kilkenny Business dynamic.

Anna O’Sullivan, Director of the Butler Gallery, received the President’s Award, for her input in spearheading a move from the basement of Kilkenny Castle, where it was housed for 43 years, to its own stunning venue at the Evans’ Home, which opened despite the pandemic in August 2020. This journey was a long one, full of ebbs and flows, but Anna’s tenacity played a big part in making this development a reality for the Butler Gallery, and for Kilkenny. After spending 23 years working in the high-flying art world of New York City, her ‘can do’ attitude prevailed and failure was not an option. Anna’s passion for the Buter Gallery, and in all it could achieve in a home of its own, has contributed in providing Kilkenny with a world-class venue that houses its important Collections, a large gallery for changing exhibitions, a Learning Centre, a café and a wonderful public realm sculpture garden that is welcoming to all.

Xavier McAuliffe, Owner of the Lyrath Estate Hotel and the Springhill Court Hotel & Conference Centre, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award. Xavier McAuliffe displayed his entrepreneurial spirit from an early age, with over 50 years in business. His passion, drive, positivity, and unique ability to see a setback as a challenge has ensured his success today.
Xavier founder of Spectra Laboratories and it went on to become one of the largest film processing companies in Europe, processing over ten million films per annum, employing over 600 people with over 50 Retail Stores in Ireland, the UK and USA.
He developed the Dingle Skellig Hotel along with being a Director of Great Southern Hotels. He expanded his portfolio with hotels in South Africa and Mozambique. He built the Kilkenny River Court Hotel and later Lyrath Estate Hotel at the time costing €60,000,000. The Springhill Court Hotel was bought and redeveloped 7 years ago. In South Africa- he built Hibernian Towers, a 21-storey apartment block in Cape Town. In Panama, South America two – 35 storey sites were bought
He built and developed houses at the Weir Kilkenny, Youghal, Listowel and Devon UK
He is Chairman of Go Safe the Speed Camera Operation /Sentry Security /Prestige Foods



Kilkenny Chamber was delighted with the huge response to the call for nominations, an indication of how strong and positive the business community is in the city and county.

Congratulations to all the finalists!

  1. Food & Drink Producer Award (Sponsor FBD Insurances)
    1. The Fig Tree
    2. Arán
    3. Elite Living Nutrition
  2.  Best Business Pivot in the Pandemic Award (Sponsor VHI Healthcare)
    1. Intosport
    2. Lorimat Jewellery
    3. CF Pharma
  3. Craft & Design Award (Sponsor Design & Crafts Council Ireland)
    1. K Kajoux Jewels
    2. DfM Clothing Ltd.
    3. Zoe Carol
  4. Culture, Heritage and Tourism Award (Sponsor Kilkenny County Council)
    1. Hawkeye School of Falconry
    2. Shenanigans Walks
    3. Rothe House & Garden
  5. Customer Service Excellence Award  (Sponsor Bank of Ireland)
    1. Callanan Couriers
    2. Springhill Court Hotel & Conference Centre
    3. UPMC Aut Even Hospital
  6. Emerging New Business Award  (Sponsor AIB)
    1. Dialize Clothing
    2. Luke Parsons Hair Salon
    3. The Indie List
  7. Employee of the Year Award (Sponsor T. Butler Engineering)
    1. CF Pharma
    2. Optimize Recruitment
    3. Goods of Kilkenny
  8. Employer of the Year Award (Sponsor Kilkenny People) 
    1. Hibernian Hotel Kilkenny
    2. Veri
    3. Lyrath Estate Hotel
  9. Environmental Excellence Award (Sponsor Kilkenny Leader Partnership KLP)
    1. White Feather Ladies Wear & Holistic Shop
    2. Value Centre
    3. Valley of Roses
  10. Exporter of the Year Award (Sponsor PRL)
    1. CR Payroll
    2. Modubuild
    3. Biddy’s Good Luck Horseshoes
  11. Family Business of the Year (Sponsor PwC)
    1. Momentum Healthcare
    2. Blushes Salon
    3. Dore Optometrists
  12. Hospitality Excellence Award (Sponsor The Wine Centre)
    1. Pennyfeather Restaurant
    2. Hoban Hotel Kilkenny
    3. Mount Juliet Estate
  13. Innovation in Business Award (Sponsor Caulfields Supervalu)
    1. Cleere Life
    2. Loanitt
    3. LawEd
  14. Investment in Skills, Training and Development Award (Sponsor Carlow Kilkenny Skillnet)
    1. UPMC
    2. Optimize Recruitment
    3. Mint Medispa by Pembroke
  15. Retailer of the Year Award (Sponsor MacDonagh Junction Shopping Centre) 
    1. Brett’s Hardware Home & Garden DIY Centre
    2. Fitzpatrick’s Fruit & Veg
    3. Lilyrose Boutique
  16. Small Business of the Year Award (Sponsor Local Enterprise Office)
    1. The Wine Buff
    2. Rafter Dempsey’s
    3. Muse Coffee
  17. Social Media & Digital Marketing Excellence Award (Sponsor KCLR96FM)
    1. Newpark Hotel
    2. Mountain View
    3. The Indie List
  18. Technology and e-Commerce Excellence Award (Sponsor Glanbia)
    1. ISE Forest & Garden
    2. UPMC


The criteria for each award can be found here and the Terms & Conditions of the Kilkenny Business Awards 2021 can be found here.