R I N G A S K I D D Y, Ireland, June 16, 2003 -- When the wind blows to the northwest over the Viagra plant in Ringaskiddy, Ireland, Charles Allen and the boys head downwind to take it in.
"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. That's why we're sitting here," Allen said.
Pfizer began making Viagra in Ringaskiddy in the late 1990s. The pharmaceutical plant is just 20 miles from the Blarney Stone, which is ground zero for Irish mythmaking and embellishment.
Love Is in the Air
Now some of the locals say "something in the air" is working wonders with men of a certain age, and they swear it's no fairy tale.
Construction worker Bill McKenna says expectations of a decreased libido in older males has no effect on the men of Ringaskiddy. McKenna says his sex drive actually increased when he and his wife joined the neighborhood.
At first, McKenna says his wife was suspicious about the change in his behavior.
"My wife thought I was going to lap dancing clubs or something …" McKenna said.
But McKenna says his wife couldn't be happier these days, and she's not the only one, according to the townsmen of Ringaskiddy.
"There's a bit of happiness in the air about it," said local Kevin O'Donovan. "You'd never see 60-, 70-year-olds walking around smiling before … holding each other, kissing," he said.
Meanwhile, the women of Ringaskiddy are a little more reluctant when discussing their sex lives with complete strangers.
The men claim it's not just humans feeling the alleged effects. The locals swear the wild rabbit population is growing even faster than usual.
As Irish legends go, this one is still in its infancy — it's just a couple of years old. But already Hollywood has taken an interest. There are not one but two film projects in the works on the legend of Ringaskiddy.
One would think Pfizer would welcome the publicity. But you don't grow into a $112 billion corporation by having a sense of humor. And talk of a leak, any leak, is not considered funny.
"From our perspective, there is absolutely no question anything like that can happen. Absolutely not," said Paddy Caffrey, Managing Director of Pfizer's Irish operations.
"It's the nature of the product that people have gotten quite a little bit of entertainment from," Caffrey said.
So if there's nothing in the air, maybe it's all in the mind. And, maybe, that's all Allen and the boys really need.