Culture

Viagra in the Air: Irish Villagers Say Pfizer Plant Has Outsize Influence on Their Sex Lives

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Residents in the tiny village of Ringaskiddy don’t have any problems getting it up, or so they’d say. Locals say the Pfizer factory that has made Viagra for the past 20 years has also had an outsize effect on a certain kind of buxom nightlife.

“One whiff and you’re stiff,” said Debbie O’Grady, a Ringaskiddy resident who hands out pints of Guinness in the Ferry Boat Inn.

Viagra became available over the counter in Britain this month, giving the small village near Cork in Southern Ireland a larger impact in the British Isles.

“We’ve been getting the love fumes for years now for free,” Sadie O’Grady, Debbie’s 60-year-old mother, told The Sunday Times. “It’s amazing the number of people who come to this village, perhaps out of curiosity, and then never leave.”

a map of Ireland with the fishing village of Ringaskiddy highlighted.

Google Maps screenshot showing the location of Ringaskiddy

“As they say, there’s something in the air — not that we need it, of course,” the mother said. “But for some fellas with problems in that department it can be a blessing.”

The woman, whom the Times described as “a vivacious blonde hairdresser,” lost her husband twenty years back in an accident. Even so, she said she had never been lonely in Ringaskiddy — which is known for its sex life. “There’s a lovely man waiting down the road for me,” she said.

Other residents also picked up on the theme. “Even the dogs here have been known to walk around in a state of sexual excitement,” said Fiona Toomey, a 37-year-old who used to work in the Viagra plant. She returned to the village after 5 years away, working as a psychiatric nurse in Albany, N.Y.

“I think that Viagra must have got into the water supply,” Toomey said. “I’m convinced that’s what happened at the very beginning before they were so closely regulated.”

Andrew, Sadie’s nephew, joked that “there’s lots of stuff in the air here.” He works at another Pfizer plant nearby, making Lipitor, the anti-cholesterol drug. He insisted that neither he nor his friends have used the “Pfizer riser.”

“I’d probably need something that has the opposite effect,” he quipped, with the energy of an 18-year-old. Nevertheless, rumors spread about some young men standing downwind from the Pfizer chimney and taking a whiff.

According to a Pfizer spokeswoman, all these jokes are a ton of hot air. “Our manufacturing processes have always been highly sophisticated as well as highly regulated,” the spokeswoman told the Times.

Even so, this “amusing” myth inspired a movie, “Holy Water” (2009).

When asked if the movie accurately represented Ringaskiddy, Sadie said, “I wouldn’t say that’s how we are exactly. We’re just happy.”