Hazel Gaynor, an award-winning author, is originally from a small village in the east of Yorkshire, England. She moved to Ireland in 2001 when she met her husband Damian. In 2004, they settled in Kilcullen. They have two sons, Max (12) and Sam (10).
WHAT APPEALED TO YOU ABOUT LIVING IN KILDARE?
My husband is from Dublin, and we started to come to Kilcullen to visit friends of ours, and we really liked the town. For me. it’s always reminded me of where I grew up back home. It’s quite that rural community, always felt very familiar to me.
WHAT IS YOUR FIRST KILDARE MEMORY?
It would be the Curragh. We used to go for walks on the Curragh. It’s something we’ve always done, even when my children were tiny babies. I used to take the boys to the Curragh to get some fresh air, splash in the puddles, look for conquers, collect leaves, building snowmen, sledging down the hills. That’s really what I would associate my memories with.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT THE COUNTY?
I think all outside spaces, places like Donadea, the forest there, the lake walk. The National Stud, those places, certainly for family time I think are so fantastic. Obviously we’ve got the gorgeousness of Kildare Village. There’s just so much in the county.
WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO EAT OUT IN THE COUNTY?
Bardon’s in Kilcullen is an absolute go-to, the chjicken wings are legendary, great place. And the Ballymore Inn, those are the two places the children will always want to go to.
IDEAL DAY OUT IN THE COUNTY?
The kids love the belgian waffles with hot chocolate sauce in Le Pain Quotidien, so maybe breakfast there and then I think we’d definitely go somewhere like the National Stud for a long walk, and then on to a restaurant for a bite to eat, you can’t beat that. You’re not driving too far.
WOULD YOU TAKE INSPIRATION FROM KILDARE FOR YOUR BOOKS?
Yes I do. There are a few stories I’ve had that are very relevant to the area. The Gordon Bennett race in particular really interests me as something I’d like to maybe cover, and that’s right on my doorstep. Strange historical connections like the Shackleton, we went to see the amazing exhibition in Athy Heritage Museum, and it’s surprising how you find these historical figures who have a local connection. So I am inspired by that.