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Thursday 5 December 2019

Kerry cafe owner allows Americans in...but says they're quiet now

Peter's Place
Peter's Place
Signs in Peter's Place
Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

It's a beautiful day and Waterville in Co Kerry is picture perfect.

Tourists stroll around the village as they circuit the Ring of Kerry, popping into the local haunts for a coffee or a spot of lunch, enjoying wonderful sea views and the famed Kingdom welcome.

But one cafe called Peter's Place, is still causing a bit of a stir.

"That's the place, I read about it in the paper," exclaims a woman, visiting with her husband and three children from the North, She has spotted the notorious poster that proclaims: "No bus or coach tour's (sic) or loud Americans" now newly accompanied by the front page of The Kerryman (south edition) carrying the story about the furore that shone a global spotlight on Waterville for what many locals say were all the wrong reasons.

Visiting from Barcelona Albert Ullibarri and Josep Turiel pause the take pictures of the now infamous poster.

"For me it's quite funny," says Mr Turiel.

"I don't know what the Americans think but I can see how it's annoying for people," Mr Ullibarri added.

The cafe, inside at least is empty though there is a scattering of a few patrons sitting at outdoor tables overlooking the prom.

Proprietor Peter Fitzgerald is unrepentant though slightly bemused at the fuss.

He doesn't give interviews but is happy to chat while he works and doesn't mind the photographer snapping away.

"I thought this would have died down by now and when I put The Kerryman piece on the window that would be it. I need something big to happen here to take the attention away from me,"he jokes.

But does he have any 

He answers, like a typical Kerryman with a question: "Why would I regret it? It worked!"

Mr Fitzgerald said there had been a lot of "rubbish" written about him putting up the poster because he was tired of coach tours using his toilet facilities without buying anything.

A notice on the women's toilet says: "out of order" which he says is only his second line of defence in case anyone slips past him.

"It was just the loudness. I have only 12 tables here and it was just too noisy if it was full of Americans."

He also claims Americans have come in since and told him they'd be quiet.

Founder of Cill Rialaig artists' retreat Noelle Campbell-Sharpe has opened up a pop-up gallery for the summer where people can purchase a piece for €250 donated by an artist who has used the retreat.

Only then is the artist's identity and the gallery value of the work revealed.

A tongue-in-cheek poster proclaims: "Loud Americans welcome - and loud Irish too."

Sunday Independent

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