Whitewater Shopping Centre celebrated its eighth anniversary last Tuesday with an audience with the dynamic racing duo Ted and Ruby Walsh.
Ted, who orginally hails from Cork, declared himself a fully fleged Lilywhite man after 56 years of living in Kildare.
The duo discussed the highs and lows of Cheltenham, cyber bullying, the recent changes to Aintree and whether Ruby, who broke his arm last week, will be back in form for Punchestown.
“I shout for Kildare now,” said Ted after he was asked who he would shout for in a soccer game between Kildare and Cork. “I’m living her 56 years now and that makes me a Lilywhite.”
The Centre’s group director Paul Keogh welcomed those in attendance, which included the Mayor of Newbridge Mick Deely, horse trainer Jessica Harrington, car dealer Bill Cullen, local TD Sean O’Fearghail and Whitewater developer Sean Mulryan. Those in attendance heard that despite the recession and the knock on affect in consumer confidence, the future looks bright for Kildare with unemployment falling, the equine industry employing 10,000 people locally and the Kerry Group in Naas to employ 900 in Kildare by 2015.
“Whitewater is not just about shopping,” said Paul Keogh. “It has become a focal point for the community - over 10,000 people pass through the doors at peak times in any given week. It is a destination.”
There was no mention of the recent loss of big stores such as Monsoon and HMV however, Mr Keogh added that footfall has risen in the centre, which employs 825 people, since 2006 by 40 percennt with 5 million visitors annually. Meanwhile a new sporting Wall of Fame for all sports people living in Kildare was launched with a photograph of the Walshes.