The sight of Birds amusements in the Fairhill Car Park in Killarney heralds the arrival of summer to the town. The noise of the bumper car and the Ferris Wheel in the sky-line are the traditions that many of us grew up with and it is hoped that the funfair will arrive in Kerry this year despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
Talks are currently taking place between Birds Funfair and Kerry County Council on whether or not they will return to Kerry this summer. The funfair organisers had contacted the local authority in February to arrange this year's events, prior to the pandemic. However, the council said this week that discussions are taking place now regarding safety measures.
Ultimately the council has the final say on whether or not the funfair can come to Kerry as they provide the land. They said that this decision has not been made.
However, this year the Covid-19 pandemic has put paid to the county's many festivals and with this it was feared Birds Amusements. However, the fun-fair owners have confirmed that they intend to return to the Kingdom this summer once such tourist attractions are allowed to open later this month.
Like many other businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic Birds Amusements are currently putting in place safety measures to allow them to re-open safely where-ever they go.
Their first opening will be in Tramore in Waterford but in the coming months they will return to Kerry.
Speaking to The Kerryman, Norman Bird, said they are putting in place preparations for the safety of all those who attend the fun-fair.
"We are currently training the staff on what will need to be done for the safety of our customers," Norman told The Kerryman .
"People need to be entertained and we hope to do that in a safe way."
Birds Amusements are examining how to implement a safe queuing system and have drawn up a rigorous cleaning plan for the amusements.
"We can't open until June 29 and we have to get on top of the queuing. We are focusing on Tramore at the moment. We are liaising with Kerry County Council to see if our procedures are suitable."
"We are working with Government guidelines governing entertainment. We are examining touch-points and ensuring that they will be cleaned so there is no cross-infection and ensuring distance between people. We are minimising the risk," he said.
He said they spoke to the Killarney Municipal District Management last week to discuss their Killarney visit and they hope that they will know what dates they will arrive in the coming week or so.
Birds Amusements has more than a seventy year history in Kerry with four generations of the family business operating in the county. In fact the Bird family have strong connections with the county with many family members living in Kerry including in Firies, Killarney and Killorglin..
Once the Killarney dates have been arranged the amusements plan to return to Killorglin in August in keeping with the Puck Fair dates and then onto Tralee, in line with what would have been the International Rose of Tralee Festival and finally their last stop will be in Listowel as it has traditionally been.
"We have been in Kerry during the good times and bad and we hope to come to Kerry this year. "
"Everything is in a state of flux at the moment but it is our intention to come. Summer wouldn't be the same without us."