Kinsale protest - Three Nil

August 26 2001


The build up to peoples picnic number three was different. The O'Connors owners of the golf course on the Old Head of Kinsale had begun to fightback in the media. They're only poor oul business men try to provide jobs it appears and they generously allow a few local groups who bow before them access on occasion. Not like the rentamob, blowin, scruffily dressed, loony left protestors who want to destroy jobs and cost charities like the RNLI money. The former owner a farmer by the name of Michael Roche was also wheeled out. The poor poor farmer who was given the Old head for nothing by his father in law was against walkers of course, but never quite explained that the walking predated his and his forefathers ownership. Sympathy for his awful plight must have been tempered by the £300,000 he got for the place.

Another beautiful sunny day and another small victory for the campaign to free the Old Head of Kinsale. Sunday August 26th the latest day of action on the Old head started with a bus being loaded on the Grand Parade in Cork city. Lots of people of all nationalities, French, Bretons, English, Canadians, Americans etc. including a contingent of 4 from the Czech Republic. We were truly the blowins that someone complained of on radio the previous Friday. But we welcomed the international solidarity afterall we want the Old head free for everyone not just the rich "blowins" curently allowed in (you must be non resident in Ireland 8 months of the year to attain membership of the Old head golf club).

The bus stopped briefly in Kinsale town itself giving all an opportunity to stretch their legs marching through the town. Reaching the Old Head the place was alive with people and the crowds just grew and grew. Lots of new faces, more family groups, pensioners to prams. A horseman appear at the top of the hill and approached the gate he admonished us from horseback like a lord of the manor of old much to the mirth of the gathering throng. He approached the gate to offer his support to the golf course and was refused entry. He then trotted up the hill along the public road closed to protesters transport by the Gardai.

At 3 o'clock we stormed the walls. After about eight people had got over the gates were pushed open by another group and all humanity spilled in. What a laugh. What a gathering, the commoners reclaiming their walk once more. Again we were photographed by the Gardai and golf course heavies, tailed to the Old head lighthouse where the now traditional meeting took place. Annoyed at being corralled on the road and the golf course owners' counter offensive in the media it was decide to return to the gates by way of the fairways. Baffled, bemused and sometimes frustrated golfers stopped in their tracks to allow the throng pass.

We laugh and danced, yes there was a serious bout of dancing to fiddling playing at a sign on the route out. A sign that says hope you enjoyed your stay do come again. We did and we will. Yet another victory for direct action.

Resolved at the people picnic meeting that we return once more on Sunday September 30th for a further walk.

One man on todays walk related how he had walked the old head as a young child in 1917. Now beat that.

James McBarron

For the background and details of previous protests including photos see
http://struggle.ws/wsm/cork.html

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