Campaign to stop funfair being ‘hounded out’ of Kinsale gathers momentum

Campaign to stop funfair being ‘hounded out’ of Kinsale gathers momentum

Momentum is building behind a campaign to stop a traditional funfair from “being hounded out” of a famous Cork tourist town.

Hundreds of new signatures were added on Thursday to the petition calling on Cork County Council to reverse its instruction to the Piper family to remove their landmark showman’s wagon from its traditional parking spot on Kinsale’s Short Quay.

Calls are now mounting on the local authority to do all it can to retain and support the funfair in Kinsale, rather than “hounding it out of town”.

Local Fianna Fáil councillor Sean O’Donovan said he plans to raise the issue at the highest levels of council next week.

“This traditional showman’s wagon and traditional funfair are so unique in Ireland,” he said. 

While the council wants them out of Short Quay and the pier road car park, I’m fully in support of keeping tradition alive.

“Kinsale is very lucky to have them. Take a trip to the UK and you have to pay into a museum to see the likes of Piper’s showman’s wagon.

“Pipers have entertained generations of people in Kinsale since 1932 and have employed and supported many festivals and organisations over the last 90 years. We should be celebrating them, not eradicating their business and tradition.” 

Independent councillor Alan Coleman said he fears the council’s stance on the Piper funfair has broken the spirit of the Piper family.

“Since Cork County Council took over responsibility for the town from the town council in 2014, it has always been a struggle every year to get space for the funfair, but this year, this is the worst I’ve seen,” he said.

Brendan Piper spoke in Thursday’s Irish Examiner of his devastation over how he and his family have been treated.

Brendan Piper.

Covid forced the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 funfairs, but Mr Piper said council terms for the 2022 lease arrangement made it unviable.

Among the terms was a condition that the showman’s wagon be removed from the Short Quay area, where it has been parked since the late 1930s.

The council also sought lease hikes of €1,000 for next summer, an additional €2,500 in 2024 and a staggering €5,000 extra for 2025.

Childhood memories

“I am just devastated by this whole thing,” Mr Piper said.

“Their decision on the showman’s wagon was tough enough, but the conditions attached to the lease and the huge increases was just rubbing salt in the wounds. 

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