Drogheda received a welcome jobs boost today as Minister of State for Business and Employment Gerald Nash bowed to public pressure and ordered the reopening of the town’s ancient fighting pits after nearly a century of closure. Known locally as ‘the quarries’, the reopening of the three natural amphitheatres off the Cement Road is expected to generate up to 800 jobs.
The bulk of the jobs will be spread across the catering, violence and physical fitness industries while male grooming boutiques, tanning salons and tattoo parlours are expected to further erode the masculinity of Drogheda’s 18-34 year old man-bunned boymen.
Minister of State Ged Nash released a press statement earlier this morning.
“It is with great pride and pleasure that I have ordered the reopening of Drogheda’s fighting pits.
“This initiative is a great addition to south Louth’s proud fighting heritage, a heritage too often overshadowed by Dundalk. As well as providing direct employment opportunities to a well documented employment black spot, the fighting pits will also stimulate the existing local economy and provide an outlet for the pent up pigeon-chested aggression of Drogheda’s youths.
“Let me just say. This is a proud day for Drogheda, as good as the day Pierce Brosnan was born here and great if not greater than the day Coca-Cola opened a factory here.”
Nash was widely praised for his flipping of the bird at Dundalk’s claim to be Louth’s recreational hub.
Drogheda Chamber of Commerce also weighed in behind the jobs injection pointing out that local businesses would do well to piggy bank on the back of the current fad for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) amongst those ineligible for the Presidency and the town’s cash rich homo-erotic community.
Since the announcement, three pop-up gyms and a coin operated tanning machine have appeared outside the pits. TFS visited one of these gyms and although sparsely equipped, it did possess all the essentials – buckets of Vaseline, rusted tools and a hape of blue PE mats. TFS was offered vials of scroat rage by one of the beady eyed skulkers already congregating outside. Local gym expert Paul Burns runs two of the gyms and was enthusiastic about expanding into the future.
“It’s no coincidence that the general decline of the town has coincided with the closure of the pits. Crazily, people were actually fighting for free on the streets at weekends. We’re just monetising a hobby that needs regulation. People will pay good money to see scroats batter themselves stupider.”
Drogheda’s latest mayor, the publicity shy Paul Bell, claimed that the reopening of the pits would see a fall off in the popularity of Dundalk’s all weather racing track.
“People are bored by the dogs and the horse racing in Dundalk. Paddy Power might sex them up by offering deals and bribing the ladies into going with their lovely hat competitions and one-upwomanship… but at the end of the day it is essentially just an extension of agriculture.
“And sure a bit of rain only makes the contests that bit more brutal. Once a scroat is wound up, no amount of rain will stop him. Or her. Whatever gender or sexual proclivities they may have, they’re all welcome to beat the living scowls off each other for the betterment of the town. Once they’ve paid their entry fee and been means-tested I’m game. It’ll both bring in much needed revenue as well as reducing anti-social behaviour and blue-collar crime. Everybody wins.”
NGOs in the St. Laurence’s Paak ghetto have reported a huge increase in community spirit since the news filtered through. Aid worker Kyle Berry from Chigaco wrote on his blog.
“Adults and children of all ages are out practising on the green. We’ve had to organize them into age groups to minimise the carnage and we’ve hired a nurse to deal with puncture wounds… But they’re having great fun and joy is a rare thing in their lives.”
Rules and regulations
Unlike MMA, Drogheda’s fighting pits have just two rules. Only weapons legally purchased which do not require a license may be used and if a fight descends into sexy wrestling for more than a count of five, both fighters are disqualified and sent to the submission pit for some private time.
Friday night fights are for boymens and capoeira hipster types who fancy themselves while Saturdays will host bitch fights, the real draw for many punters. Sunday mornings will host under 7s to under 15s while Sunday afternoons are exclusively for mixed doubles of any age.
The overall winner gets a six figure sum and to metaphorically ‘own the town.’
Judge Bran Flannen has indicated the courts will consider ‘pit time’ – giving Drogheda’s jailbirds the option of a judicial sentence or winning their freedom in the pits. However, with such lucrative rewards on offer, Judge Flannen warned that if social welfared parents encourage their children to engage in criminal behaviour just to get sent to the pits, then sanctions would be taken. These include removing the child from fighting school and sending them to elocution lessons and the Grammar School on a scholarship, a nightmare scenario for both sides.
The pits, which were used to hone the fighting skills of the region’s revolutionary Gaels, were flooded at the height of the Civil War on the orders of Michael Collins. Recently released documents from the Department of Defence show how the flooded pits were kept as a key defensive position to deter invasion by either Protestant Britain or Nazi Germany during the Emergency – both as bad as each other in the eyes of the state leaders de Valera and McQuaid. The Irish Army were confident any invading force could have been lured there where they would have fallen into the pits, which were camouflaged with branches and leaves. Any survivors would then have been finished off by a mixture of the souls of dead Gaels trapped below and local ‘corner’ and ‘go’ boys.
Pit promoters hope to add a few more souls in the coming weeks and months.
Admission €30. Opening date TBA.