Kerry woman ‘Kathy White House’ to be feted

It’s a story that might have made another book in a town that has more literary output than most.

Kerry woman ‘Kathy White House’ to be feted

Kathy Buckley, born in Listowel, Co Kerry, worked as a cook to three US presidents before retiring to her home town, where she died in 1969.

Local historian and relative Vincent Carmody has lots of personal anecdotes as well as memorabilia from her time in the White House — menus, signed photographs, and a freedom key that was given to president Calvin Coolidge by the people of Fort Worth, Texas.

Around Listowel, she was known as “Kathy White House”. Some of her anecdotes will be recalled during the annual Listowel Food Fair on June 18-21 and possibly during Listowel Writers’ Week on May 27-31.

Now in its 21st year, the food festival promises a feast of culinary entertainment and a tribute to Ms Buckley. It will feature the country’s first All-Ireland Craft Beer competition, lively cookery demonstrations, expert-led workshops, a food trail, and farmers markets.

It will showcase produce from Kerry and beyond, with the All-Ireland Emerging Artisan Producer Awards offering a platform to newcomers.

Paolo Tullio will open the festival and will be the guest judge at a publicans-versus-traders cook-off.

Meanwhile, the shortlist for the €15,000 Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2015, for a published work by an Irish author, has been announced.

The nominees are:

  • City of Dis by David Butler;
  • Blue is the Night by Eoin McNamee;
  • The Closet of Savage Mementos by Nuala Ní Chonchúir;
  • The Visitors by Patrick O’Keeffe;
  • The Diary of Mary Travers by Eibhear Walshe.

The winner will be announced at Listowel Writers’ Week. Anne Enright opens the festival.

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