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Transition Town Kinsale - Spring fair

A report by Klaus Harvey

Also see Graham Strout's report on zone5

ttk_springfair2.jpg On Saturday 29th March Transition Town Kinsale and Kinsale Tidy Towns joined forces and held TTK’s second Spring Fair. Whereas last year’s event was located at the College of Further Education, it was decided that this year the fun should be shared with everyone in the town, so public liability insurance obtained, we moved the bulk of the Fair to Short Quay, the Temperance Hall in the town centre with some events still taking place at the College. The day began with heavy clouds and hard rain, but by the time the first stalls were being set up for the market, the sun had broken through and spirits were lifted.


Spring and sustainability were the main themes, so the eco-market offered a range of stalls selling seeds, books, hemp products, organic and local produce, a bicycle powered smoothie maker and a bicycle powered juke box. At one point during the day a group of people appeared to suddenly start cleaning Short Quay, using dusters, cloths and sweeping brushes. This was a Spring Clean ‘flash mob’, an entertaining way of raising awareness of the themes of the day as well as raising a few eyebrows in the process.

skilling up.jpgInside the Temperance Hall was a Fair Trade café, Cultivate’s Powerdown exhibition of posters displaying images and messages about key topics such as transport, food, energy, housing, climate change and peak oil. Transition TV showed film clips about the same issues, with experts giving good advice and words of wisdom on the subjects. Display boards were covered in wonderful posters by the children from St. John’s and St. Joseph’s Primary Schools illustrating the importance of looking after our environment and not throwing our rubbish where it doesn’t belong.

The main event at this venue was the launch of Kinsale & District Community Powerdown by Trevor Sargent, Minister for Food and Horticulture, aided and abetted by the Mayor, Mary Evans and Kathy Sinnott MEP. This TTK initiative is about engaging the community in energy reduction in their homes and businesses over a year. A set of targets will be outlined which the community can undertake, or participants can choose to measure the reduction in their carbon footprint over a year. TTK hope that each participant will actively encourage others to get involved so that the Powerdown will become a community effort. Workshops will be run throughout the year so that the community can learn more about saving energy and reducing emissions that bring about global warming. Watch this space and see below for more information.

tkk_springfair1.jpg A packed Temperance Hall listened to Minister Sargent say how happy he was to be in Kinsale and how he often speaks both nationally and internationally of Kinsale being a forerunner of the Transition process. He went on to praise many of the TTK initiatives, particularly the importance of developing local food production. He gave an interesting statistic that for every 10 units of energy that go into food production we only get 1 unit I return, this being due to fertiliser and pesticide dependent agriculture, transport, processing, packaging, refrigeration etc. Now there’s food for thought (ouch!).

Kathy Sinnott also praised the group’s work and its involvement in trying to find community solutions to the global issues of climate change and energy uncertainty and said that if there was any way she could help, not to hesitate to get in touch. Don’t worry, we will.

The Mayor then presented a book token to Clara McCarthy, whose picture showed how different people dispose of their waste and which had been judged to be the most suitable for the poster for the whole event. Finally, the guest speakers were presented with copies of ‘The Transition Handbook’ by Rob Hopkins (see review below) and thanked for their time and contribution to the event.

Other events of the day included the Tidy Town’s Car Boot Sale at the College carpark which was a huge success. A number of workshops took place on seed sowing, building with hemp, cob and cordwood building and there was a talk by Tricia Kenny from Carbon Action Ireland on ‘How to measure your carbon footprint’. Later in the evening, a concert was held at the magical amphitheatre at the College with a host of local talent playing music and doing comedy improvisations. The inevitable raffle followed with prizes galore donated by the generous business community of Kinsale.

Thanks to Kinsale Further Education College, Cork Community Bikes for the smoothie maker and bike powered PA system and Cultivate for the Powerdown Exhibits.

A large number of people spent many weeks organising this event, too many to list here (and there’s always that risk of leaving someone out), but we’d like to thank all of you, you know who you are. Roll on next year.

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