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Piper's Funfair in Kinsale has been cancelled for the first time since 1939 due to Covid-19.
Piper's Funfair in Kinsale has been cancelled for the first time since 1939 due to Covid-19.
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Well-known Cork funfair forced to cancel for first time since opening in 1939

A well-known family-run funfair has been forced to cancel its opening in Kinsale Town Park for the first time since 1939 due to Covid-19.

Piper’s funfair was first opened in the Town Park by William Piper at the age of 20 and has been run in the same location ever since for the last 81 years.

William Piper’s son Bill Piper who celebrated his 80th birthday in April now owns the funfair and Bill’s son Brendan helps him with the running of the business.

Speaking to The Echo about the closure of this year’s funfair, Brendan Piper said that it was the best decision for the safety of their colleagues and friends and that it was out of their control.

He said that although it is trying times for everyone, that the funfair will be back in full swing in 2021.

Mr Piper’s grandfather settled in Kinsale in 1937 and opened a small funfair on Short Quay before moving to the Town Park in 1939, where the funfair has stood in the summer months ever since.

“We don’t travel anywhere else, we’re based there in the Town Park for the three months every year,” Mr Piper said.

“It’s the old traditional funfair, no big fast rides, it’s nice and calm for families and children to visit and that’s why we’ve got generations of families coming to visit us down through the years.

William Piper first opened Piper's Funfair in the Town Park in Kinsale in 1939.
William Piper first opened Piper's Funfair in the Town Park in Kinsale in 1939.

“We’re known in Kinsale, we get people from all over. We get people from England and America too. When I posted the news of the cancellation of Facebook, my page was hopping with responses from people.

“”We’re so passionate about the funfair, it’s deep in our hearts and it’s in our blood and this is what we look forward to. It’s hard work but at the end of it, as my dad says when you look around the park and see children enjoying themselves, that’s what it’s all about.

“One time we were coming down from the bumper cars and he had tokens in his hand, and we were just ready to open after fixing a motor in a bumper car and there were kids laughing and smiling and he said, “always remember Brendan, that’s what it’s about, kids enjoying themselves” as he held the tokens in his hands to give to the children.” 

The funfair would normally open over the June Bank Holiday weekend and run until the last Sunday in August.

Mr Piper said that the cancellation of this year’s funfair will be tough as they depend on the season to generate an income.

“It’s tradition to try to keep the funfair going and we depend on this season so this is a trying time now because we’re not generating any income,” he said.

He said that the funfair is weather dependent and that last year’s bad weather forced them to close “for about five or six weekends” over the season which makes this year even more difficult.

“We’re on our own, we don’t get any government grants or subsidies or anything like that. It’s tough and you’d want to try and keep the tradition going but we will be back next year please God,” he said.