Alexia Martin: The Carnsore Point Festival (1978–1981): Between Antinuclear Rally and Cultural Event
← 198 | 199 → ALEXIA MARTIN
For the last thirty years, Ireland has proudly defined itself as ‘nuclear-free’. But at the end of the 1960s, the Irish had their own plans for a nuclear power station, at Carnsore Point, a headland in the very south-east corner of County Wexford. By the 1970s the nuclear project was becoming a reality and the Irish were at a crossroads in their history, when they had to make a choice whether or not to become a nuclear state.
After a short period of positive response to the project, the first objections were raised locally then throughout Ireland, north and south. The first rally took the form of a three-day festival on the projected site for the power station in August 1978. The event was much bigger than expected with some 25,000 visitors from all walks of life, one of the biggest protest rallies since the independence. It was then renewed every summer for four years with 65,000 people attending the second festival. Because of their impact on public opinion, these mass-meetings were instrumental in halting the Government’s plans to build a nuclear plant on that site. This wide impact had much to do with the festive atmosphere of the event, with theatre plays and concerts organized alongside the speeches on the nuclear issue.
This calls for an examination of the connection between popular culture and antinuclear protest, drawing on the example of the Carnsore Point festival and the...
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