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Cllr Norma Moriarty, Kerry GAA legend Mick O'Dwyer and Albert Walsh of Waterville Business Association wave American flags to show support to US visitors. Photo by: Alan Landers/BBC

“Loud Americans” cafe owner no regrets as others rally with US flags

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Cllr Norma Moriarty, Kerry GAA legend Mick O'Dwyer and Albert Walsh of Waterville Business Association wave American flags to show support to US visitors. Photo by: Alan Landers/BBC

Peter Fitzgerald, the owner of Peter’s Place the Waterville, County Kerry, restaurant which banned loud Americans, has said he has no regrets about his move and refuses to take the poster down.

But a group of local residents led by Kerry Gaelic football legend Mick O’Dwyer have held a counter rally welcoming Americans to the town and waving Americans flags.

Fitzgerald has stated he is not backing down however. “It was just the loudness. I only have 12 tables here and it was just too noisy if it was full of Americans,” he told the Sunday Independent.

He claimed Americans had since come in and promised to be quiet.

Instead of backing off, he has proudly put up a local newspaper story about his move and says Americans still come in.

FitzGerald denied he had any regrets about the controversial sign stating, 

“Why would I regret it”, it worked,”he said.

However the newspaper noted the café was empty during a recent visit except for a few people sitting on a bench outside.

“I thought this would have died down by now…” he told the newspaper saying there had been a lot of “rubbish” talked about him putting up the poster.

However local business leaders are said to be deeply upset by the sign, which has placed the town in an unfavorable light.

A local business has put up a sign “Loud Americans welcome ---and loud Irish too.”

Albert Walsh, chairman of Waterville Business Association, 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."

Louise Huggard, who runs the local Butler Arms Hotel, told the BBC the village had been welcoming visitors to the nearby scenic Ring of Kerry "for centuries.”

"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 said. 

"So, we have now decided as a village to be a bit louder about welcoming our visitors. Especially our American visitors."

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