‘The fifteenth’ is always a big day in Blackrock and it was an extra special one this year for local businessman Killian Allen as it marked the first time in two years that he had been able to bring his carnival to the village.
This is the 17th year that Killan has brought the carnival to the festivities in Blackrock, continuing a 110 year of funfairs in the village.
He was delighted to be back.
“This year we went big and had two amazing new attractions,” he said. “We had the 50 metre Star Flyer attraction that was built in the Czech Republic and also a Spanish-built Crazy Frog ride. The two new attractions were a fantastic addition to the Blackrock Summer carnival.”
"We got back on the road for Paddy’s Day this year and were at the Dundalk Agriculture Show and all the shows around the country,” he said. “We’ve been all around the country, from Rush in north Dublin, to Cork and Kerry.”
He said that they had received a very good reception everywhere they went.
"We are welcomed everywhere we go. People are delighted to be back out.”
The past two years have been very tough for him as the lockdown restrictions meant that he had to put all the funfair rides into storage.
"I was driving lorries and buses during lockdown six or seven days a week to save the business as I still had fixed costs like yard rental, machinery upkeep and insurance.”
He said that at one stage they feared that they wouldn’t be able to get back on the road as seemed that they might not be able to get insurance.
"Luckily we were able to get insurance in March of this year but it has gone up by 300 per cent.”
He also faced problems in getting a crew to work on the funfair, as he had lost his old crew due to the pandemic.
"We have a crew of about half a dozen people working part-time during the summer so I had to get a new crew this year.”
"Basically I had to restart the business from scratch as a lot of the festivals that we would have gone to weren’t running this year because of insurance costs so we had to develop a new route of festivals around the country.”
They also had to built up relationships with staff in local councils as there had been personnel changes from when they were last on the road.
He is especially appreciative of the support from the community in Blackrock and Louth County Council.