National Redhead Convention raises the pride of the country's gingers - VIDEO
By: Daniel O'Carroll | Published Friday, December 21, 2012, 8:22 PM | Updated Friday, December 21, 2012, 8:22 PM
Local redhead Kenneth Gordon cooling off with an ice cream at the redhead convention.
A County Cork seaside town played host to the third National Redhead Convention last weekend, a morale-boosting one day extravaganza for the country's throngs of gingers, a gig organizers billed as a change to celebrate Ireland's emblematic hair colour, challenge hair-based discrimination, and have a great family day out.
This year was the third installation of the one day festival, a day long bonanza of everything and anything to do with red hair.
Activities included red balloon launches, red face painting, and certificates of red hair-edness for all participants.
Even red drinks and red coloured cuisine was on offer, with all proceeds for the worthy event going straight to the Irish Cancer Society.
Redheads from around the country converged on the scenic village for a bit of banter, the chance to witness a crowd-full of redheaded people, and to take part in some of the fun, family-orientated activities organized throughout the day.
Kenneth Gordon, 22, of Glasheen, Cork, was one of many redheads who made the pilgrimage out of the City for the big day.
Speaking to IrishCentral by telephone, he said that it was his first time at a redhead convention, and in a line that could have been pulled straight out of a Martin Luther King address, described being in Crosshaven for the event as like witnessing the 'collective moment of emancipation of an entire hair colour'.
The youthful ginger added that he 'never felt prouder to be a redhead', saying that the festival would help challenge the kind of petty discrimination often directed at redheads which he said he himself had been a victim of.
'Awakening ‘Ginger Pride’ and creating a safe haven for red-heads at events such as these sends out a clear message to the general public that discrimination against people because of their hair colour is as unacceptable as discrimination based on race, skin colour, or religion, and has no place in Modern Ireland,' Gordon boldly opined, adding that the crucial funds raised for the cancer charity was an 'added bonus' for the event.
Others were also keen to highlight the fact that red-heads are often the subject of casual derision and ridicule, sometimes even by friends and family, and lauded organizers for doing their part to create a celebration of what is undoubtedly Ireland's most stereotypical hair colour.
Gordon traveled to the event with his fire-headed friend Hugh Boylan, who echoed his travelling companion's comments about the event being a celebration of being ginger.
'It's just fantastic,' Hugh Boylan, a soon to be emigrée beginning a promising position on an offshore oil-rig this September, told IrishCentral from the event.
'I've never been surrounded by so many people with the same hair colouring.'
Even those of a fairer complexion seemed content to join in the fun.
Conor Hinds, of Ballinascara, Cork, sports what he described as a 'rapidly diminishing' crop of blonde hair, but said that his Scandinavian-like looks didn't stop him from joining in the fun at the one day redness bonanza.
'I mightn't be eligible to pick up the Certificate of Red-headedness,' the balding Corkman joked, 'but it's a fun idea that everyone should have the chance to be part of.'
His friend Chris O'Connor, also from Cork but now studying engineering at a prominent university in Edinburgh, agreed adding that it was 'worth travelling home for.'
The Redhead Convention even saw a few local politicians from across the political specturm turning up to offer their support for the innovative project.
Many seemed keen to emphasize their support for the smashing idea, which will go into its fourth year with next year's installment.
Brendan Finucane, a Local Area Representative (LRA) for the Fianna Fáil party based in Rochestown, said that 'creative and inspiring' ideas like the Convention would 'bring much needed money back into the local economy, give people some respite from the doom and gloom of the recession, and even raise some funds for charity in the process.'
Other 'silly season' events held in recent weeks include the Naked Bike Race, part of a global sporting celebration which saw participants competing in the nude.
Red hair occurs naturally in between 1 and 2 percent of the population.
It is characterized by high levels of the reddish pigment pheomelanin and relatively low levels of the dark pigment eumelanin, according to Wikipedia.
The Ancient Celts, a Teutonic tribe considered the forebearers of a substantial amount of Irishmenm, were noted for their red hair and pale skin.
Footage of the 2010 Redhead Convention, below, via YouTube.