Our coffee king leads big parade

    Brave Bobby Kerr took part in a Kilkenny City Centre athletics event as he continued to fight cancer

    Pic: Donal Foley

    A KEEN walker and runner, local entrepreneur, Bobby Kerr will feel very much at home with St Patrick as he leads the big parade in a city he loves.

    Bobby who grew up in Kilkenny City will be Grand Marshall at our March 17 parade.

    The chairman of the Insomnia Café Group which he founded, is son of Bobby Snr who ran the four-star Newpark Hotel for a generation.

    Bobby is a past pupil of Kilkenny CBS and of Castleknock College.

    The man who delighted in walking and running as he battled with cancer, played rugby with Bective Rangers.

    He is very popular and is an inspirational figure as he supports many charities at home and abroad.

    He has always been a great ambassador for Kilkenny City and County.

    He is very proud of his Kilkenny roots and takes every opportunity to support progressive developments in our city.

    He is particularly passionate about keeping our High Streets vibrant and ensuring our towns and cities have local, indigenous businesses at their heart.

    He followed his father into the catering business, studying in Cathal Brugha Street College, now part of Dublin Institute of Technology, before emigrating to Canada where he worked in a major catering business.

    He returned to Ireland in the mid-1980s where he bagan a hugely successful career with Campbell Catering, running the Bewley’s Café and franchise business before setting up the PERK Coffee Chain in Britain.

    The latter led to the Insomnia Copffee Chain of which he became shareholder and CEO and is now chairman.

    The chain has a café at the Market Cross Shopping Centre at the heart of our city.

    His media career began with his appointment as one of the original business advisor ‘dragons’ on the RTÉ Dragon’s Den Series before taking over as the presenter of the main business programme, ‘Down to Business’ on Newstalk FM in 2010. He now presents Bobby’s Late Breakfast on Newstalk on Sunday mornings.

    Councillor Joe Malone, parade chair, said the Kerr family have been synonymous with the development of the tourism industry in Kilkenny since Bobby Snr ran Newpark Hotel.

    “Many of Kilkenny’s most prominent businesses grew out of the excellent training and high standards set there, including Eamon Langton and his family business.”