The world famous village that is home to the Blarney Stone has been forced to move its St Patrick’s Day parade – by the local squire!
Blarney Castle owner Sir Charles Colthurst has caused outrage after refusing permission for the annual festival to take place in the village square.
Colthurst, who owns the square through aristocratic inheritance according to the Irish Independent, has shocked locals with his decision.
He hit the headlines last year for growing pot in a hidden garden at the castle.
The landlord, whose castle and Blarney Stone attracts over 300,000 visitors a year, has claimed he fears he will sued for injury and hasn’t got sufficient insurance cover.
As a result of his decision, the festival organisers have moved the venue to the local GAA club and altered the route of its St Patrick’s Day parade.
Parade organiser Kevin Conway told the newspaper that he feels the issues raised are ‘trivial’ and said the stance taken by Colthurst has caused major headaches for the parade organisers just 72 hours before the gala event.
“We have a record entry for the Blarney parade this year, it is all about providing entertainment for people and persuading tourists to come to Blarney and spend their money here,” said Conway.
“We have now had to ensure that every stall and attraction is moved from the square out to Blarney
GAA grounds. But we are very grateful to the GAA for allowing us to use their facilities - otherwise we don’t know what we’d do.”
Colthurst did not respond to queries from the Irish Independent but a five-page letter sent on his behalf to Blarney Community Council raised specific concerns about insurance and cited the risks associated with some stalls.
The paper reports that the letter bluntly warned that he believed the public liability insurance cover in place was not sufficient and left him open to possible claims.
Festival spokesman Tom O’Dwyer told the paper that they were shocked by the late notice given.
“We found out about this at 6.05pm on Tuesday. This isn’t the first festival we have had on the square, this would have been the fifth,” he said.
“We have had two previous St Patrick’s Day festivals and two September ‘Fun Days’. So we don’t understand why there was suddenly a problem with insurance this year.”
Colthurst previously hit the headlines in 2010 when he called for the minimum wage to be cut and argued that Ireland had become too uncompetitive compared to other European countries.
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