Directors & Members:
• Kathleen Holohan - Chairperson
• Bernie O’Brien
• Rachel Doyle
• Councillor Brian O'Donoghue
• Declan Doyle – Chairperson, Financial Committee
• Catriona Crowe
• Karan Thopmson
• Councillor Denis Foley
• Fiona Kearney
• Michael Brennan – Company Secretary
Kathleen Holohan - Chairperson
Kathleen Holohan became Chief Executive of Carlow Council on 19th October 2015, having previously been Deputy Chief Executive of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council from July 2007 and a Director of Services with the Council from March 2001. Kathleen was a Director in 3 key directorates - Housing, Planning and Corporate Services and Human Resources. She previously worked in Dublin County Council and Dun Laoghaire Corporation.Kathleen has been a member of a number of Boards including Venturepoint, Southside Partnership and the Homeless Agency which she chaired from May 2004 to January 2009. She was involved in the establishment of the Pavilion Theatre in Dun Laoghaire and was a board member from June 2000 to April 2008.
Bernie O’Brien is Director of Services with Carlow Local Authorities and is responsible for Community & Enterprise, Economic Development & Corporate Services/HR. Her role includes implementation of the Carlow Local Authorities’ Economic Development and Promotional Strategies for the county, management of all local authority activity related to community development, including the arts, and has responsibility for all Corporate and HR functions. Bernie has over thirty years experience in local government, having worked in all of the functional areas of the Carlow Local Authorities. She is also a board member of Carlow Community Enterprise Centres Ltd.; Carlow Town & County Amenity Trust Ltd., and Carlow Rural Information Services Project Ltd.
Rachel Doyle is the Chief Executive Chairperson of the five star award winning Arboretum Home and Garden Heaven, Leighlinbridge, Carlow and Arboretum Kilquade, Wicklow. Rachel’s entrepreneurial dream to start her own business started after graduating from college in 1976. Rachel identified a niche in the market and the seed was sown. She opened a small garden centre at the rear of the family home and soon the business grew in success.
Since then Arboretum prides itself on building strong customer rapport, supplying only the highest quality products and providing excellent customer service. This is the foundation for the achievements and growth of Arboretum which currently employs 117 people. In 2015, Rachel realised a long held vison and opened a second store in Kilquade, Wicklow. This new outlet boasts 5.2 acres with a multitude of inspirational gardens, onsite café and Arboretum shop.
This dedication to enterprise has gained Rachel worldwide recognition. Some of the recent accolades Arboretum has won include the coveted title of Retail Excellence Ireland (REI) Garden Centre of the year 2017, REI National Company of the Year 2016 and REI National Store of the Year 2015. Arboretum was also Bord Bia Garden Centre of the year in 2015 and 2014. Rachel is on the Women in Business Retail Excellence Ireland Committee and speaks at many events throughout the country and abroad, inspiring entrepreneurs and women in business.
To highlight how entrepreneurial Rachel is, she held the coveted position of President of the International Garden Centre Association from 2013 -2015, which for the first time in 56 years was held by person in Ireland. Rachel is also on the main board of Bord Bia and is invited as a guest to all horticultural board meetings where she has served since its inception. Rachel successfully bid for Ireland to host the IGCA international congress in 2014, bringing 240 people from all over the world to Ireland. Rachel has furthermore been a board member of County Carlow Chamber where she served as President for a two year period.
Councillor Denis Foley
Councillor Denis Foley (FG) has been a full-time politician since first elected to Muinebheag Town Council in 1979. He was elected to Carlow County Council in 1999 and served as joint Chairperson of both bodies on a number of occasions. His other roles have included Joint Chairperson of Carlow Education Training Board, Officer of the Educational Training Board of Ireland, Board Member of the National Adult Literacy Association and Executive Member of INVOLVE (Young travellers association). He is also Chairperson of the Board of Management of Mhuinebheag Vocational School. He is a lifelong supporter of the GAA, an active participant of the committee and Vice president of St Andrew’s SFC, and an active member of the IFA.
Councillor Brian O'Donoghue
Brian is one of the youngest county councillors in Carlow at just 26 and was elected to the council for the first time this year. Working as a journalist in Carlow since 2008 while still a student and continuing that work since having left Griffith College in Dublin with a degree in Journalism and Visual Media, Brian has a background in print and broadcast media particularly in sport but also in current affairs. Brian is no stranger to the stage having played the roles of Lieutenant Danny Gilmartin in Tullow Community Schools production of Calamity Jane in 2004 and the role of Samuel in the same schools production of the Pirates of Penzance. His main hobbies include GAA and most other sports.
Declan Doyle is Head of Development at the Institute of Technology Carlow where he has responsibility for Research, Innovation and Internationalisation. Prior to this he was the Head of Wexford Campus where he had responsibility for the Wexford Campus School of Art and Design. In this position he worked with lecturers who are active in research and practice to develop a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Fine Art, a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Visual Communication and a unique Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Professional Arts Management. During this time he also worked on a multi-million euro collaborative project with partners from Wales to increase capacity and to build linkages between artists, art centres and community groups on both sides of the Irish Sea. He has previously served on the board of Wexford Arts Centre.
In his teaching career he has lectured in the School of Business and Humanities of IT Carlow primarily teaching management and marketing modules. He has also lectured in the Department of Marketing in NUI Galway, and has been a guest lecturer in ISC Paris, FHTW Berlin, University of Voronezh (Russia) and the Technical University in Warsaw (Poland) and with various Erasmus partners. He is on the editorial committee of a major European network of educators and has been an invited speaker at international conferences across Europe and Asia.
Karan Thompson is founder and Director of Karan Thompson Consulting Limited (KTCL), a consultancy practice with specialist experience in the arts, culture, creative industries and tourism sectors. She specialises in innovation development, commercialising creativity, marketing and business development for arts and cultural organisations, support agencies and local authorities. Key projects include: Bid Adviser and Writer for the Three Sisters 2020 European Capital of Culture Bid; Industry Report on behalf of DCCoI to reposition Waterford as an International Centre for Glass Making and Design; Project management for Yeats 2015; Destination and experience Development for the Wild Atlantic Way; Project Mentor for Fáilte Ireland’s Cultural Insights Project; Evaluation of the National Music Education Pilots which led to the development of Music Generation.
Prior to establishing KTCL in 2001, Karan worked in the public and private sectors holding significant roles including: Vice President of Global Customer Services, Braxtel Communications (Boston, Ireland and UK) and Events, Operations and Special Projects Manager at the National Concert Hall, Dublin. A regular guest lecturer on third level programmes for arts and culture, at both University College Dublin and IADT. She is a former member of the Board of the National Concert Hall and former Chair of the Helix Advisory Board (DCU).
Michael Brennan is Senior Executive Officer of the Community Department with Carlow County Council and Former Town Clerk of Carlow Town Council. He previously worked in local government in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown and Kilkenny. He is currently Chief Officer for Carlow Local Community Development Committee, as well as Director and Chairperson of Carlow Community Enterprise Centre Ltd and Carlow Rural Information Services. He is also Director for Carlow Town and County Amenity Trust and Chairperson of the Carlow Inter Agency Traveller Working Group.
Catriona Crowe is Head of Special Projects at the National Archives of Ireland. She is Manager of the Irish Census Online Project, which has placed the 1901 and 1911 censuses online free of charge over the last 5 years. She is an Editor of Documents on Irish Foreign Policy, which published its seventh volume, covering the period 1941-45, in November 2010. She is editor of Dublin 1911, published by the Royal Irish Academy in late 2011.
She is Vice-President of the Irish Labour History Society, and a former President of the Women’s History Association. She is Chairperson of the Irish Theatre Institute, which promotes and supports Irish theatre and has created an award-winning website of Irish theatre productions. She is Chairperson of the SAOL Project, a rehabilitation initiative for women with addiction problems, based in the North Inner City, and also Chairperson of the Inner Cirty Renewal Group, which delivers employment and welfare rights advice and support to the community in the North Inner City. She contributes regularly to the broadcast and print media on cultural and historical matters. She is a member of the Royal Irish Academy.
Fiona Kearney is the founding Director of the Lewis Glucksman Gallery, a purpose built award-winning art museum on the campus of University College Cork. In this position she has curated Folly: Art after Architecture, Living/Loss: The Experience of Illness in Art, Modern American Painting from the NYU Art Collection; The Year of the Golden Pig: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection and Through the Looking Glass: Childhood in Contemporary Photography. In June 2013, she was invited to curate a major exhibition of Irish art at the Galeria civica di Modena, Italy. Island: New Art from Ireland formed part of the International Culture Programme for Ireland’s Presidency of the European Union.
Throughout her career, Fiona has received several distinguished awards including the designation of college scholar by UCC, the NUI Prix d'Honneur from the French Government, a UCC President’s Award for Research on Innovative Forms of Teaching, and a Fulbright scholarship. In June 2006, she was awarded the Jerome Hynes Fellowship on the Clore Leadership Programme, the highest award offered to an individual by the Arts Council of Ireland. In July 2008, she participated in the Getty Museum Leadership Institute at the Getty Center, Los Angeles. In December 2008, she was appointed to serve as a member of the Arts Council of Ireland for a 5-year term, where she chaired its Policy and Strategy Committee. Fiona has published widely on contemporary art and has contributed articles and reviews to Source, Circa, and the Irish Arts Review. She is a member of the Irish Museums Association, ICOM, IKT and AICA.
VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art and the George Bernard Shaw Theatre
Registered in Ireland – Company No: 403432
Registered Office: County Offices, Athy Road, Carlow