Waterville residents took to the street to prove that their Co. Kerry town is ‘American-friendly’ after a notice outside one of its eateries went viral.
The poster outside Peters Place cafe read ‘No Bus/Coach tours or loud Americans. Thank you’ provoking outrage from locals and even made the news in America due to the tourism that the area relies upon.
Albert Walsh, chairman of Waterville Business Association along with residents and GAA legend Mick O’Dwyer took to the streets to counteract any damage caused by cafe owner Peter Fitzgerald.
The crowd brandished American flags, but alongside the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ were EU and Ireland flags just to make sure that there was no confusion as to who is or isn’t welcome.
Mr Walsh said: “What we want to do is reflect the real attitude to America.
“There is a loud welcome in Waterville for all loud American visitors and friends.
“We are proud of this friendship. One sign will not compromise our valued Waterville-American connection, which is over 100 years old.
“Ours would be the last place on the island that would be anti-American.”
According to Fáilte Ireland 1.1 million people visited the South West of the country in 2012 and the manager of the Butler Arms Hotel wanted to reverse any damage the negative publicity had garnered.
“All of our visitors talk about the sincere warm welcome they feel among us, from Charlie Chaplin to Tiger Woods to the late Payne Stewart who was honorary captain of Waterville golf links,” she told BBC.
“So, we have now decided as a village to be a bit louder about welcoming our visitors, especially our American visitors.”