'The whole of Kinsale had our back': Piper family thank local support as deal reached on funfair and showman's wagon 

"They could have been watching GAA matches or having barbecues but they put their time aside to save the wagon instead." 
'The whole of Kinsale had our back': Piper family thank local support as deal reached on funfair and showman's wagon 

Brendan Piper, who is the man behind one of Ireland's last remaining traditional businesses of its kind- Piper's Funfair in Kinsale - was devastated to have to move his showman's wagon from its parking spot in Short Quay. Photograph: David Forsythe

THE owner of a Cork funfair fought back tears following news that his famous showman's wagon will remain in Kinsale despite previous council requests for it to be moved.

Brendan Piper, who is the man behind one of Ireland's last remaining traditional businesses of its kind- Piper's Funfair in Kinsale - was devastated to have to move his showman's wagon from its parking spot in Short Quay. The landmark vehicle had been sitting there for almost a century.

At the same time, he and his father Bill had postponed the funfair's opening due to a proposed increase in charges for the use of the traditional funfair's site, a carpark in the town. 

Following lengthy discussions with Cork County Council, Brendan said they will now be able to locate the showman's wagon in the carpark where the funfair is held. He has also come to an agreement with the Council on charges for use of the funfair site. 

Brendan acknowledged the support of the Kinsale community. The news that the showman's wagon had to be removed sparked huge local anger, with the issue raised in the Dáil and protests held. 

“It was the people of Kinsale who made this happen,” he said. “All I am is a small cog in the wheel.” 

He said that the compromise was a win, not just for him, but for the whole of Kinsale.

"It's been a long two years," Brendan said. "Everything was on the line. Councillor Sean O'Donovan brought it up first day when he saw the wagon being taken away on the back of a low loader and asked "Where's Billy Piper's showman's wagon."

Mr Piper added that he never expected the showman's wagon to spark protests in the area.

"When the news went up on Facebook I thought people would just comment that it was a shame and a pity. I didn't expect them to fight for us.

"They could have been watching GAA matches or having barbecues but they put their time aside to save the wagon instead. That goes for young and old. 

"The whole of Kinsale had our back."

The family is looking forward to the future.

"Showbusiness is in our blood. We're a little traditional family funfair. We are never going to become rich or millionaires. That's not what we are about. As long as we can pay the bills we are happy. What we do it for is the childhood memories.” 

He described the sentimental value of the wagon for the people of Kinsale.

“Inside that wagon is the history of Kinsale. This isn't our showman's wagon. It belongs to Kinsale. Hopefully, this is the last of it and we can look forward to 2023. That moment we can look up and see children having fun there for the first time in so long is what it's all about."

Meanwhile local Green Party representative Marc Ó Riain, one of the organisers of community protests on the issue, thanked the community for their dedication to the cause.

“It’s a great win, for Brendan and Bill, for Kinsale, for all the kids who will be able to enjoy the ‘Merries’ and for common sense!" he said. 

"It really shows you that when we stand together we can achieve something….together. 

"I would like to thank Helen Hickey, Cllr Sean O’Donovan, Deputy Christopher O’Sullivan, and all those who signed petitions wrote letters, and generally supported the campaign. The Funfair and the Showman’s Wagon will delight visitors and the children of Kinsale for another 90 years.”

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