How it’s (New York) New Jersey: Bruce Springsteen played there in July!IMG_2071
How it’s Irish: Kilkenny is a medieval town in Ireland. Narrow, cobble-stoned streets, and the prettiest McDonald’s I’ve ever seen (off the main drag), with table service!

So, Kilkenny is the 2013 National Tourism Town in Ireland by Failte Ireland. I visited last summer, to see Bruce Springsteen, with Glen Hansard and Damien Dempsey opening for him. Glen also came on to sing “Drive All Night” with Bruce for an encore, and since this seemed as good a post as any to put it in, I put my video of it at the bottom. There are better videos on YouTube with closeups, but this is my little souvenir.

The town decked itself out. People draped themselves in American flags. They put “Welcome the Boss” signs on their pubs and cars. Afterwards, they sang Bruce songs as karaoke. The streets were alive all night, and there was no leaving… I ended up sleeping in the car. Friendly security officers (you know you’re not in NJ anymore) directed us to a supermarket for breakfast– which wasn’t open yet, although somehow we got in. We weren’t arrested, fortunately. My car’s GPS found a McDonald’s just out of the main drag– it was like an East Village hipster coffee house. Sixties-style furniture, and table service. We felt sorry for all the folks sitting on the curb by the market.

Kilkenny is Named Ireland’s 2013 Tourism Town (via

Fáilte Ireland has announced that Kilkenny has been crowned the 2013 National Tourism Town. The medieval cultural hotspot was chosen from a shortlist of ten top tourism towns. A Best Small Town Award was also presented to Mulranny, County Mayo which…


Gwen Orel
About the Author

The only New York journalist who writes for both the Forward and Irish Music Magazine.