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Cork Viagra town proves fertile ground for rumor

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Its association with the anti-impotence drug Viagra has enhanced the small town’s reputation.
Ever-more bizarre rumors have circulated about the town, focusing on the myth that fumes from U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer’s factory, which makes the drug, have driven the locals sex-crazy.
Now, two rival movie companies have plans to make the story of Ringaskiddy into a film. Locals say they will do what comes naturally — they are delighted to take advantage of the publicity.
But according to reports from the movie industry, Ringaskiddy is hardly an inspiring site for a place that is now nicknamed Viagra Falls. The town center contains two shops and three bars.
One of the moviemakers has considered resetting whatever movie gets made in a small-American town.
Locals are more than happy to speak about the rumors floating in the air.
James Hartnett told reporters that “a man started work at Pfizer and nine months later his wife gave birth to quadruplets.”
Hartnett added, “There’s babies everywhere.”
Asked what the population figures for Ringaskiddy was, Hartnett replied, tongue-in-cheek, “it’s 1,200 this week but it could be 12,000 this time next year.”
The latest rumor seeping from Ringaskiddy is — depending on whom one speaks to — that vapors from the factory have turned the locals sex-mad, or that the local men folk made up the story to lure women into bed.
“Whether it’s true or not, people might come here out of curiosity,” one woman said. “But basically it’s just a good laugh.”
And good for business. Ringaskiddy may look unimposing, but Viagra has made Pfizer exceedingly rich and has brought untold benefits to Ringaskiddy.
Bed and breakfast owners foresee a flood of tourists if the movies go ahead.
“If it highlights the area, then anyone involved in the tourist industry stands to benefit,” local hotelier Adrian Sheedy told Reuters.
A movie and increased tourism would have a growth effect on other local businesses as well. The possibility that a comedy set in Ringaskiddy would make the locals look foolish is the least of their concerns.
“It will depend on the emphasis,” said local TD Batt O’Keefe. “But if they are comedies, they will be light-hearted, and I think as Irish people we are known to be light-hearted ourselves and to enjoy . . . the craic.”
Pfizer denied the emissions rumor through a spokesperson, who said: “It’s made under the strictest supervision of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Irish Environmental Protection Agency. There can’t be any kind of emissions.”
Then he added: “But no one wants to know that.”
This has not stopped another rumor that local men have taken to standing downwind of the factory.
“They’re grinding the tablets and the wind is coming from that direction. So there’s bound to be a certain amount in the air all the time,” said a local, Charles Allen.
Meanwhile, it is not just local business that is growing in size. Residents are now reporting an unusual increase in the rabbit population.

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