BUSLOADS of young people who travel from around Kerry for a night of drunken revelry in Dingle on St Stephen's Day are not welcome by locals or the town's Wrens.
Wrens Day kicked off in Dingle shortly after 1pm with the customary parades continuing into the evening and, although the day was quieter than usual, there were many visitors and families in town to enjoy the colour and spectacle served up by the long-standing tradition.
However, as the evening progressed the streets filled with groups of young people, many already drunk when they arrived in town. Some were seen carrying vodka bottles and beer cans on the streets as Gardai did their best to keep the situation under control.
Many locals, including those who are involved in the Wrens, are becoming increasingly concerned that what is a day of fun and celebration in Dingle is in danger of being tarnished by the drunken carry on of some of the huge number of young people who come to the town for a night of revelry and have no interest in or connection with the Wrens.
The Kerryman spoke to one local who said he saw girls, possibly as young as 13, drinking on the streets. Another local said she felt intimidated by the huge gangs that congregated on the Spa Road and Main Street as many had been denied access to pubs. Such were the crowds that hundreds of people were turned away from the Hillgrove nightclub.
The Hillgrove released a statement on the matter this week clarifying that they were not aware of and did not help to organise the influx of buses that ferried young people from around the county.
"We have only three regular bus companies from Killorglin, Tralee and Castlegregory, of which we have done all-inclusive ticket deals, which are availed of most weekends during the year," the statement read. "We had a few other bus companies call us for these deals for December 26 of which we refused, and as for the rest of the bus companies, we were not aware of them coming to Dingle."
"On the night we were completely taken by surprise by the huge influx of people - because people were coming into the nightclub in such large numbers at a very fast rate we actually stopped letting people in from 12.35am."
"We will endeavor to help reduce the number of buses coming to Dingle on December 26 in future."