Phil Summers, 70, from Ballinlough in Cork City, said she just felt she had to take a stand.
“I have a problem with people doing things I think they shouldn’t,” she said.
“I just took my seat out, with my cigarettes, my phone and a book, and sat down in the hole they were digging.
“Then before I knew it, protestors from other areas were coming out to support me. I was a bit embarrassed by it all really.”
John Lonergan, of the Ballyphehane South Parish anti-water charges campaign group, said Ms Summers’ stance was “inspirational and empowering”.
“I thought her stance was absolutely amazing,” he said. “It was a big deal for any woman, especially of her age, to do this on her own. It was a fantastic thing to see. But it shows us that there are people out there who are prepared to take a stand, even on their own.
“And for those critics out there who describe us as a ‘rent a picket crowd’, what happened yesterday proves that there are ordinary people still out there who have had enough, and who are prepared to take a stand. It is very empowering for the likes of us to see people like her take a stand on her own.”
Ms Summers, of Sundrive Park in Ballinlough, mounted her protest just after 8am when she heard contractors on behalf of Irish Water working outside her home.
She contacted the Neil Prendeville Show on RedFM, and told presenter Colm Moore that despite asking her neighbours for support, none was forthcoming.
Within minutes of her story airing, anti-water meter campaigners from Mahon and Ballyphehane arrived to support her.