Stephen Maher from the Curragh is Into Kildare’s chief experience officer.
Stephen grew up in Brownstown raised by his mother Ellen Hanly, along with four siblings (Alan, Tanya, Ian and Caitriona). He went to school in St Patricks Boys National School in The Curragh and then to the Patrician Brothers Secondary School. He is now married to Caithriona Ures Maher and they have four children (Cillian, 17; Muireann, 14; Oisín, 11 and Iago, 6).
WHAT IS YOUR FIRST KILDARE MEMORY?
My first memories of growing up all involve The Curragh, as most families didn't have cars to go too much further. The market in Brownstown on a Sunday and drinking TK Red Lemonade with bag of Ma Reilly's crisps (5p) while the Irish dancing was on is a distinct memory. I also remember playing in what I later found out to be the ruins of the K Lines, the WW2 Internment camps on The Curragh, widely recognised as the most friendly internment camp in the world which incidentally had its own currency. I also remember walking from Brownstown to the Curragh Racecourse in the baking sun with my mother, grandparents and a whole platoon of cousins, aunts and uncles to watch the Derby from outside the fence.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT KILDARE?
Pride. I've never met a person who isn't proud to be from Kildare. The recent Kildare GAA/Croke Park fiasco is testament to our pride and the way our community got behind the team is incredible.
WHAT IS YOUR IDEAL DAY SPENT IN KILDARE?
Breakfast in Café Carlton at Newbridge Silverware followed by bargain hunting in Kildare Village before having lunch in Hartes of Kildare, and heading to the Curragh Racecourse for an afternoon in the sunshine. Fallons in Kilcullen for dinner and then back to Squires in Kildare for a couple of pints and maybe go upstairs to Studio One for a nightcap.
Hartes of Kildare and Fallons of Kilcullen, both are very different but offer a similar level of quality and taste.
WHAT GIVES KILDARE ITS UNIQUENESS?
The landscape and its history. Carbury Castle, The Hill of Allen, The Curragh Plains, Naas town, Castledermot and Kilkea Castle to name but a few all played a part in the exciting stories of Irelands Ancient East.
HOW IS YOUR JOB GOING WITH INTO KILDARE?
The position is offering me a great insight into what the county has to offer. The Punchestown festival was really nice. The factory tour at Newbridge Silverware is not to be missed. One of the greatest surprises was the gardens at Burtown House outside Athy. Stunning. There was great fun to be had at the Kildare Rose Selection in the Westgrove who were very hospitable (nice leisure facilities and a humongous family room/apartment). The development at The Curragh Racecourse is world class, I'm hoping they bring me back for a full experience as the development progresses. Rock the Yard in Celbridge was a pretty cool event and The Courtyard Hotel was a very pleasant stay (great breakfast!).
I've been to a couple of events in Mondello including the launch of the Historic racing Festival - 50th Anniversary weekend, I'm looking forward to going there on 18th and 19th August.
Taste of Kildare in The K Club is also on the August 19 so I'm looking forward to heading to that after Mondello. And on Sunday July 22, there is a Family Fun day in The National Stud. Follow me on Instagram @stephenmaherintokildare and @intokildare for updates!