The international sporting cavalcade is the biggest thing to hit the East Cork town since ‘Moby Dick’, writes Christy Parker
The East Cork town of Youghal is fast becoming a place transformed as it prepares to welcome Ironman Cork.
Hundreds of volunteers have offered services and, for miles around, the accommodation has been booked out.
With more than 2,600 athletes arriving, in addition to families, supporters, and spectators, Youghal has been given a huge facelift. Even the town’s blue flag beach has undergone a renovation programme, with sands levelled, pebbles redistributed, and up to a dozen wooden groynes amputated to ensure perfect conditions for competitors.
The chit-chat at check-outs and bar counters is inevitably the international Ironman triathlon and persistently positive with all the evidence pointing to a party waiting to happen. Footpaths have been repaired and roads resurfaced along, and beyond, the main streets in advance of Ireland’s first full Ironman triathlon on Sunday, June 23. Local suppliers report a significant rise in business as tradesmen work flat out to clean, paint, and repair business and residential premises.
“Paint sales are up considerably and I’m told there’s not a painter to be had before July, thanks mainly to Ironman,” says hardware shop manager Colin Broderick.
Bicycle-themed window displays are all over the town centre, where Ironman flags and banners capture the breeze. To a soundtrack of busy lawnmowers, gardens are being tended, pot plants prepared, and public spaces manicured to a pristine presentation.
Dozens of Airbnbs and other householders are prepare rooms for letting, hotels and guest houses report full bookings through June, with the overspill spanning 50 sq km.
Ironman Cork has more than 2,670 entries for a swim challenge commencing early morning at Claycastle beach.
The car park opens at 4am with shuttle buses running from 5am with the swim beginning at 6am.
It precedes a 180km bike race through East Cork’s coastal roads and villages as far west as Ballycotton, with a 42.2km run around Youghal completing the official events’ schedule. But the schedule begins on the previous Friday and wraps up on the Monday.
Meanwhile, the biggest party in Youghal’s life will boost its 8,000-strong population by about 150%. The sporting side of the event will be streamed live to 8m Facebook followers.
Youghal has not hosted a major international event since John Huston, Gregory Peck, and company spent the summer of 1954 filming scenes from Moby Dick. Since then, a textile industry collapse haemorrhaging thousands of jobs and heralded more than 50 years of emigration and decline.
A decade ago, the former town council began a process to redefine Youghal as a family-friendly heritage and seaside resort, self- sustained by its history and natural resources. Aided by Cork County Council and more recently private investments, it’s a continuing success.
Youghal acquired the famed triathlon after local engineer and Ironman enthusiast John Innes simply guessed that Dublin was unsuitable for hosting the race, and that the company that organises Ironman would be open to an approach. The 48-year-old lifeboat volunteer dispatched an email to Ironman headquarters and the rest is history. The seaside town has secured the event for three successive years, at least.
Mr Innes is now course director and part of the local i-Try Coaching group spearheading the organising process for Ironman Cork.
Of the public response, he says: “It’s gone from initial uncertainty to full-blown embracement. A domino effect has set in and the community is united in its welcome and its desire to show the world what the region has to offer. It’s really becoming a party.”
He speaks of barbecues planned and community groups across the region setting up their own celebrations “before, during, and after” the races.
In one such example, Youghal Comhaltas, as well as performing at the official Ironman banquet, is going to organise a pop-up public céilí the day before the triathlon. The enthusiasm has been nurtured since the New Year by a preponderance of athletes visiting the town to preview the course.
Come April, the service industries found themselves catering for tables of six and eight in an off-season bonus that hasn’t faltered. Such is the embrace that restaurants and health stockists “have adjusted their stock in terms of nutrition and wellbeing to meet Ironman-associated demand,” says Youghal Business Alliance chairman Ger Flanagan.
Ironman has validated the tourism policy further, given the triathlon titan’s strong requirement that the infrastructural backdrop reflects race locations’ individual identities and character.
Cork County Council has thrown considerable weight behind the preparations, including a €500,000 roads improvement programme for the route.
“Quite simply without the county council, it couldn’t happen. They’ve been brilliant,” said Mr Innes.
Literally leaving no stone unturned, the local authority has engaged in a beach renovation programme to level the sands, redistribute pebbles, and even amputate a dozen protruding groynes at Claycastle.
The day’s events will not affect the Youghal bypass, but the town’s transport will be restricted to a shuttle bus service, with road closures also imposed across the cycling route.
The organisers have conducted over 40 meetings across the region, “not least to ensure that everyone is well informed of the closures and aware of the contingency plans for any emergencies”, says Mr Innes.
Meanwhile, the towns’ Green Park will become a mini-village, including a 16-bed advanced A&E unit.
“Youghal will be the safest place in Ireland for a day,” says Mr Innes.
More than 650 volunteers have come forward individually and through local organisations.
“There’s a wide variety of tasks involved,” the course director says, “from marshalling to registration, backpacking, stewarding, setting up and taking down venues and so on.
“The important thing is that absolutely nobody will be left not knowing what to do.
“The only thing we can’t guarantee is good weather.”
So, 65 years after Moby Dick disappeared beyond the horizon, Youghal has found another big fish to fry.
Redbarn Beach has been awarded the Blue Flag again this year, this is a fantastic start to the 2019 tourism season.
Redbarn Beach is unique in East Cork as the only beach with this accolade. The Blue Flag is one of the world’s most familiar eco-labels. At beaches, the bathing water must comply with the excellent standard in accordance with the 2006 EU Bathing Water Directive.
Owner of the Quality Hotel at Redbarn, Allen McEnery noted, “Cork County Council have done tremendous work over the past few years in maintaining consistent & excellent bathing water quality. Their program of regularly clearing the beach of seaweed has been instrumental in achieving these pristine conditions – even with the dreadful storms and bad weather over the past year. We would like to thank everyone who has helped to contribute to this success.”
Worldwide, the Blue Flag is awarded to approximately only 4000 beaches in 49 countries across Europe, South Africa, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil and the Caribbean. Beaches and marinas that achieve this honour must comply with a specific set of criteria relating to water quality, information provision, environmental education, safety and beach management. The Blue Flag programme is funded in Ireland by the Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government.
Allen finished by saying, “Youghal is renowned for its seaside location and a favourite holiday venue for families because of its great beaches. The pending Ironman next month has had a huge impact on the area already with athletes travelling in advance to trial course. The programme of road upgrades has been very welcome, and I do hope the event is a roaring success. “
The Old Thatch Killeagh who have been proudly serving the village of Killeagh since 1650 have just unveiled their brand new Deli as an addition to the existing bar and restaurant!
Providing everything from ice cream and hot & cold food, to sandwiches and rolls. The deli has all you could need for a quick bite to eat and of course the all-important caffeine fix with exclusive barista coffee.
Make sure to call in and check it out, the deli is ideally located at the rear of the building, next to The Old Thatch car park.
Congratulations to the Castlemartyr Resort team for their achievement, which recognizes 12 months of training and hard work led by Operations Manager Barry Hennessey and Guest Relations Manager, Trevor Sheehan.
New Offer: Summer Family Breaks at the 5 Star Castlemartyr Resort
Enjoy Summer Family Breaks at the 5-Star Castlemartyr Resort, with 2 nights luxury accommodation, evening meal on one night and family pass to Fota Wildlife Park from just €249pn. For more information call the reservations team on 021 421 9150 or visit www.castlemartyrresort.ie.
A huge congratulations is in order to Donal & Teresa Leahy of Leahy’s Open Farm, who were awarded the Talamh Sustainable Living Award at this years’ RDS Spring Awards ceremony in Dublin last Wednesday.
Leahy’s Open Farm was first established roughly twenty years ago when Eddie and Eileen Leahy took a great leap of faith and diversified into agri-tourism. Twenty years later Leahy’s Open Farm is an ever-growing and expanding favourite for families all over Ireland, and it is now run by Donal & Teresa Leahy.
The award celebrates the huge effort made by Leahy’s Open Farm to diversify and expand as a rural business. Teresa explains that back in the day, the farm would have sustained only a few employees, but having diversified and expanded it is proudly responsible for a huge boost to the local rural economy. Leahy’s Open Farm has an overwhelmingly positive impact on the local economy as it consistently attracts visitors and brings income to the area.
Leahy’s Open Farm boasts a wide range of activities; from daily animal petting times to crazy golf, and even the chance to operate real JCB Diggers! The farm’s variety of fun filled pursuits cater for all ages and interests. A product of their ambition and expansion is the recently unveiled Ice Cream & Chocolate Factory. The factory uses milk fresh from the farm to produce delicious, authentic ice cream and hosts kids’ parties, chocolate workshops and more.
Teresa and Donal were visited by two judges who evaluated the farm as part of the consideration process. According to Teresa they did not expect to win, but were looking forward to making a night out of the awards ceremony anyway. The excitement to hear Leahy’s Open Farm being announced as winners of the Sustainable Living Award was really something else, and the shock and surprise made it all the better for Donal and Teresa who were absolutely delighted to receive their award from Minister Andrew Doyle.
Join us for a breath of fresh air this Easter at Fota House, Arboretum & Gardens, one of Cork’s most idyllic locations, on Friday 19th and Sat 20th April. The magnificent Arboretum will be the setting for Dorothy’s Trail, which will bring the history and beauty of Fota alive for everyone. Amongst the trees and wildlife, follow the woodland path, leading you to your very own Easter treat!
This self-guided Easter Trail follows in the footsteps of the young Dorothy Bell, Fota’s former owner, as she explores her imagination in the gardens. At the finish, claim your yummy chocolate egg, kindly sponsored by Cadbury’s. Come along for an EGGciting day out for all the family that is suitable for all ages!
“Once your little ones have enjoyed their experience, why not make a day of it and enjoy the stunning gardens with a picnic or enjoy some delicious food at Bakestone Café?! There will also be food tents at the end of the trail and entertainment with vintage swing boats and carousel from the 1950s and a fantastic 1970s ice-cream van,” says Victoria Tammadge, Fota House’s General Manager.
Tickets are €8 per child and can be pre-booked online www.fotahouse.com, adults go FREE!
Trail runs Friday and Saturday from 10am to 4pm daily, walk-ins welcome.
By enjoying our Easter trail, visitors are contributing to the ongoing restoration and conservation of Fota House, Arboretum & Gardens which is owned and managed by the Irish Heritage Trust charity. Book tickets online now, join us for Easter, and be part of something special.
For details on all our events or to book, visit us at www.fotahouse.com or call 021 4815543.
Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Cork is a warm and inviting family destination on the doorstep of Cork city, with two contemporary wings and modern facilities, this stylish hotel offers the ultimate escape from the daily chores this Easter, giving families the perfect setting to enjoy some precious time together.
On an Easter Family Getaway at Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Cork, the fun starts from the moment you check in. Your little ones are greeted with their very own Global Explorers Entertainment Pack, with colouring books, treats and games to keep them entertained throughout their stay. As part of the Easter Family Getaway, visit the eco-friendly Tír na Sí farm in Watergrasshill, just 15 minutes from the hotel, where the little ones can follow the nature trails and discover the secret fairy woodland, say hello to the farm animals or enjoy a pony and trap ride – adventures that will be remembered for years to come.
Available from the 15th to the 26th of April 2019 from €299 per adult, the Easter Family Getaway includes a 2-night stay in an interconnecting family room, Super Buffet breakfast for all on both mornings and a family pass to Tír na Sí, with an Easter egg hunt on the lawns of Ditchley House on Easter Sunday, Blu Birds Kids Club, Easter-themed arts and crafts, movie nights and much more, make the little ones’ Easter extra special with an Easter Family Getaway at Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Cork.
Plans for a massive air show over Cork Harbour, featuring jet displays and wing walkers, have been unveiled.
Organisers of next summer’s inaugural Cobh Air Spectacular believe the high-flying entertainment over one of the world’s great harbours could attract up to 100,000 spectators.
Several aircraft, including the Aero Superbatics Wing Walkers and the Strikemasters jet display teams, have already signed up for the display on July 12, 2020.
The Strikemaster Jet pair, two single-engine vintage military tactical jets which are now used widely as military training jets, are a regular and popular feature at airshows across the UK, and have performed aerobatics at Foynes and at Dublin’s SkyFest.
Some of Ireland’s leading aerobatic pilots, including David Bruton, in his SU-26, and the ‘flying dentist’, Eddie Goggins, a European aerobatics champion in his CAP 232, will show off their skills, with plans for historical aircraft flypasts and displays from the Irish Coastguard and RNLI also in the pipeline.
The harbour setting will provide spectacular vantage points and the event has been timed to coincide with Cork 300, which celebrates three centuries of activity at the Royal Cork Yacht Club.
Event organiser, Captain Rich MacIlwraith, a former commercial airline captain on 737s and 777s, who is now a senior instructor at the Atlantic Flight Training Academy in Cork, said the Cobh Air Spectacular has been years in planning.
Having been involved with airshows around the world, I have always believed that Cork Harbour provides the best natural backdrop for an event of this kind,” he said.
“We have already attracted an amazing line-up, with more announcements to come.
“This event will be unlike anything we have ever seen on the south coast, and marks a huge opportunity to establish Cobh and the lower harbour as a regular venue for a world class airshow”.
The event is being actively supported and facilitated by management at Cork Airport.
“Cork Harbour offers a great natural amphitheatre for an international air show of this nature and as Ireland’s fastest growing airport, we are delighted to play a leading role in facilitating a spectacular of this nature,” airport spokesman, Kevin Cullinane, said.
Mr MacIlwraith said the organising committee will work closely with the local communities involved, as well as Pure Cork, Cobh Tourism and the Cobh and Harbour Chamber as planning intensifies in the months ahead.
And they are also looking to the corporate world with unique sponsorship packages.
‘We will be working with leading companies to offer the very best experience possible of the event, including the opportunity to fly on some of the aircraft that will be travelling to Cork for the event,” Mr MacIlwraith said.
“This is the first time that companies will have had this opportunity in Cork, and we expect a high demand for both our individual and corporate sponsorship packages.”
Haulbowline Island Park which is set to open in May as the newest park within the Ring of Cork. The site has had a remarkable transformation within Cork Harbour over the last year with the ongoing project that was signed off 8 years ago to . The 22 acre site was once the home of Irish Steel which operated on the site from 1939 until it closed in 2001. The east tip of the island described by the EU as violating the Waste Directive and issued fines over the site which prompted the government to clean up the dump which contained slag and other toxic material.
The Department of Marine and Agriculture set out to fix this eyesore and the cleanup and transformation effort began transforming this once “toxic moonscape” into one of Cork Harbour’s most picturesque sites.
The government have recently committed to continue the cleanup for the remainder of the former Irish Steel site. You can watch the video of the site’s transformation here:
In Paris, on Monday 18th February, Ballymaloe House won global recognition as winners of the inaugural food Oscars ‘Trolley of the Year 2019’ award at the World Restaurant Awards. Ballymaloe House and Café Paradiso (in collaboration with Lucy from Gort-na-Nain vegetable farm in Kinsale), brought the only two trophies from these prestigious international food awards home to Ireland. Darina Allen from Ballymaloe Cookery School and Ballymaloe House’s head pastry chef JR Ryall were in Paris to collect the award on behalf of everyone here. Huge congratulations to our sweets team lead by JR Ryall; Anne Healy, Breda Cahill and Hannah Callen and to the front of house staff who bring their sweet delights to our customers.
This ‘Trolley of the Year’ award celebrates those that believe table service should always be in fashion and the late Myrtle Allen began this long-standing personal service when her and her husband Ivan first opened the doors of their family dining room to the public in 1964. The original wooden cart was made in the early 1960s by carpenter Danny Power to Myrtle Allen’s specifications: a top shelf with ledge and another underneath for plates and serving utensils.
Jr, Anne, Breda and Hannah currently are the team who prepare the dessert trolley daily for lunch and dinner at Ballymaloe House. Fresh flowers arrive from our walled garden to decorate their seasonal desserts. These pastry chefs brief the front of house team pre-service on the sweet choices available and where the ingredients have come from. Serving the Ballymaloe dessert trolley is often where Ballymaloe waiting staff begin their training and it is where many of today’s famous chefs began their journey with food, namely our own Rachel Allen.
Our dessert trolley and how it is presented visually and verbally, was always important to Mrs Allen. What came naturally to her, in today’s world remains an important way to bring diners closer to Ballymaloe’s farm to fork ethos. This award is for you Myrtle and all at Ballymaloe House who keep your trolley rolling so sweetly and majestically!
Fern Allen, our manager, and Myrtle and Ivan’s youngest daughter said on receiving news that Ballymaloe House had won this award “We are thrilled with this global award for my mother’s dessert trolley and delighted for JR, the pastry team and the front of house team who continue to keep the dessert trolley at Ballymaloe House up to date, fresh and up to my mother’s high standards”.
The Allen family and everyone at Ballymaloe House is extremely excited about this international recognition, and would like to extend huge thanks to the World Restaurant Awards judging panel. Roll on 2019!
To find out more about the World Restaurant Awards and the Trolley of the Year award click HERE
The Jameson Experience Midleton is celebrating after being awarded A Gold Excellence Award and winning the ‘Best Visit’ category at the CIE Tours International Annual Awards of Excellence which took place in Dublin’s City Hall on Monday evening, 28th January. Now in its 29th year, the annual awards of excellence recognise the best hotels and attractions across Ireland and are based on feedback from over 32,000 customers throughout the year.
The Jameson Experience received a Gold Award on the night, having achieved a customer satisfaction rating of over 96% from CIE Tours International visitors, who said they received an exceptional quality experience and welcome during their visit.
The honours were presented by Vivienne Jupp, Chairman and Elizabeth Crabill, Chief Executive Officer, CIE Tours International. Just 13 overall category winners were awarded a Gold Award on the night.
Ring of Cork are pleased to announce this Monday our “Come Explore” campaign over the next year on our social media platforms. Come Explore will run from December 2018, until the end of 2019 showcasing the natural beauty, heritage and scenery around located within the Ring of Cork aimed at attracting visitor footfall to the Ring of Cork area.
The allocation of €500,000 for the extension of Youghal Eco-Boardwalk has been welcomed by Cork East Fine Gael TD and Minister of State at the Department of Justice, David Stanton. Funding is being made available to Cork County Council under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme 2018 operated by the Department of Rural and Community Development.
“Today’s funding announcement of €500,000 for the Eco-Boardwalk project is great news for Youghal. This will go towards phase 2 of the Eco-Boardwalk project which has a total cost of €1.25 million. Phase 2 involves the extension of the coastal walking route from Red Barn to Youghal town centre”, said Minister Stanton.
“The grant of €500,000 is the maximum amount available under Measure 3 of the Outdoor Recreation Scheme which focuses on the repair, upgrade or development of large strategic recreational infrastructure projects which aim to improve facilities for local communities and support local tourism. It is fully accessible to all and this extension will mean that there will be a continuous route from Claycastle to Youghal town.
“I would like to congratulate Cork County Council on all the work they have carried out to date on this project. The Eco-Boardwalk was opened in March 2012 and has been hugely successful. Despite damage during winter storms a few years ago, Cork County Council secured additional government funding of €300,000 for extensive repairs which allowed it to reopen after the temporary closure.
“Youghal Eco-Boardwalk has been a huge success since it opened proving very popular with local people and tourists. Youghal has experienced substantial government investment recently in historical projects such as the repairs to the town walls, St. Mary’s Collegiate Church and Youghal Clock Gate and outdoor recreational projects such as the visitor moorings, the pontoon and the slob bank walk. I am confident that the boardwalk extension, in addition to the planned Midleton to Youghal Greenway, will, once completed further enhance Youghal’s amenities and tourism product”, concluded Minister Stanton.
Castlemartyr Resort is delighted to announce the appointment of Danielle Murrihy as Sales and Marketing Manager.
Danielle has worked with Castlemartyr Resort since October 2015 as a key member of the Sales & Marketing team. Her knowledge and experience garnered through her extensive career within the hospitality industry has been influential to the Castlemartyr Resort’s success in recent years.
Danielle completed her Bachelor of Business in Hotel Management from Galway & Mayo Institute of Technology while working as Accommodation Assistant at Hayfield Manor Hotel, Cork during her studies, the first step into the hospitality industry.
Throughout her career Danielle has gained a host of experience working in the hospitality industry in Ireland and abroad, including the IHG Group in Florida from 2004-2005. Danielle returned to Ireland in 2005, where she took on the role as Conference & Banqueting Manager for Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel overseeing the conference and banqueting operations for the hotel for two successful years.
Danielle joined Lakeside Hotel & Leisure Centre in 2008 where she worked as Operations and Deputy General Manager during her four-year tenure at the Co. Clare hotel. In 2012, Danielle moved to the United Kingdom to take on the role of General Manager for the Hallmark Hotel in Croydon where she excelled in meeting budget and revenue targets, developing relationships with key accounts, and motivating staff to deliver top industry standards.
In October 2015, Danielle returned to Ireland and joined the team at the luxurious 5 star Castlemartyr Resort in East Cork, as Events Executive progressing to the Sales Department and soon taking on her new role as Sales and Marketing Manager in the summer of 2018.
With over 17 years working in the hospitality, Danielle brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to her new role. Speaking about her new appointment Danielle shared, “I am delighted to take on this new challenge at Castlemartyr Resort. As one of the countries leading luxury destinations I’m incredibly exciting to take on the role as Director of Sales & Marketing, leading a brilliant, hardworking and passionate team here at the resort.”
Commenting on the appointment, Brendan Comerford General Manager at Castlemartyr Resort said “Danielle’s experience, knowledge and passion for the hospitality industry is invaluable to us at the resort, Danielle is incredibly driven and we are delighted to see her take on the new role as Sales & Marketing Manager.”
Castlemartyr Resort brings together a 17th century classic manor house and a luxurious contemporary wing, with an award-winning spa, gorgeous grounds featuring a tranquil swan lake, a challenging golf course all set on the dramatic ruins of an 800 year old castle with beautifully restored parterre gardens.
Ring of Cork have teamed up with On The QT to launch the first ever travel series for the Ring of Cork.
There are 10 episodes coming up over the next 10 weeks. Tune in every Monday night at 7:30pm for our weekly travel show! Have a look at what you can expect over the next few weeks in our series trailer that you can watch here on Ring of Cork’s youtube channel.
(CNN) — A star-shaped fortress atop a picturesque island off the southwest coast of Ireland once housed one of the world’s biggest prison populations.
While today Spike Island welcomes boatloads of tourists — much like Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay or Robben Island off the coast of South Africa — in Victorian times it was a place that many never left, with more than 1,000 prisoners dying there in less than four years.
In an attempt to learn more about the men who perished on this prison island, bioarchaeologist Barra O’Donnabhain began excavating the convict graveyard in 2013.
Over the past five years, O’Donnabhain and his team have uncovered some of the mysteries buried on Spike Island — including a grizzly procedure long ago carried out on dead prisoners’ corpses.
How an island became a prison
Spike Island — often described as “Ireland’s Alcatraz” — has a multilayered history.
Early records indicate the 104-acre island might have been a 6th-century monastic settlement. It gradually developed into a British military base in the 18th century, before it became a depot for convicts waiting to be shipped to Britain’s penal colonies, such as Australia and Bermuda.
“The prison was opened as a crisis response by the government to the Great Famine and to the perceived rise in criminality, because the court system at the time punished theft very harshly,” explains O’Donnabhain, an archaeology professor at University College Cork in Ireland.
From 1847, men and boys as young as 12 were sent to Spike Island, some for crimes that would today be considered trivial offenses, such as stealing potatoes.
‘Hell on Earth’
But by 1853 the number of prisoners on the island had risen to 2,500, making it possibly the biggest prison in the British Empire at the time, if not the world, in terms of the number of prisoners, according to O’Donnabhain.
Up to 40 prisoners were sardined in each dormitory-style room — measuring 40 feet by 18 feet — and there were no individual cells save for the punishment block, used to detain the most dangerous criminals.
A number of accounts from the time detail how solitary confinement in the prison’s punishment block was like “hell on Earth.” Over 1,000 prisoners died on the island and were buried in mass unmarked graves.
Various convict accounts from the punishment block detail how prisoners were heavily chained from wrist to ankle and severely broken from enduring what they described as “Hell on Earth.”
The prison’s draconian regime of forced labor coupled with poor living conditions and an inadequate diet meant convicts died almost daily in the early years, explains O’Donnabhain.
Digging up Spike
Records indicate that one of the island’s two graveyards, which O’Donnabhain hasn’t yet excavated, holds upwards of 1,000 prisoners who died before 1860.
O’Donnabhain and his team have excavated 35 burials from the other graveyard, which was used from 1860 onwards. By this point the number of deaths had drastically reduced to approximately one per month.
Arcaheologists excavate one of Spike Island’s prison graveyards. Barra O’Donnabhain
He says he was surprised by the element of care employed when prisoners buried their fellow inmates, particularly by how carefully they painted the cheap pine coffins to look like oak coffins.
“I read it as a gift from one prisoner to another,” says O’Donnabhain. “You’re being buried in a convict graveyard on a convict island that’s out of bounds to the rest of society, and yet your peers are just taking care to make a statement that this person was of some worth.”
Skulls for ‘science’?
But one of the most curious discoveries was that a handful of skeletons had the top of their skulls removed.
O’Donnabhain speculates that this might have been part of a wider study in the 1870s spearheaded by Italian scientist Cesare Lombroso to identify the characteristic physical features of the “born criminal.”
“Lombroso did a lot of autopsies of hanged criminals, and he found a particular variation in the architecture of the skull which he said is the sign of the ‘natural born criminal,'” explains O’Donnabhain.
Unsurprisingly, Lombroso’s theories have long been discredited.
But O’Donnabhain says he can’t be certain that that’s exactly what they were doing on Spike Island.
Writing’s on the wall
The prison housed convicts from 1847 to 1883. “There were a lot of prisoners who were there for things we would not regard as crime today, and sentenced to hard labor,” says historian Gillian O’Brien of Liverpool John Moores University.
When the 19th century prison closed in 1883, the island resumed its original function as a military barracks, only to re-open as a prison from 1985 to 2004.
When O’Donnabhain arrived nearly a decade later he says the sheets were literally still on the beds.
So, before he began excavating, his team documented the modern graffiti scrawled by 20th century prisoners.
“What really struck me in doing that work was the continuity between the Victorian prison and the modern prison,” says O’Donnabhain.
The graffiti on the walls detailed the prisoners’ nicknames, sentences, and hometowns. O’Donnabhain says these modern prisoners came from the same “blackspots of social disadvantage” as prisoners during the Victorian era.
“You see exactly the same dynamic in the sense that it’s primarily the poor who end up in prison and its people from socially disadvantaged backgrounds,” he says.
Spike Island first opened to the public in 2016 and was named “Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction” at the World Travel Awards last year.
O’Donnabhain says tourists are curious to explore the island because of its dark past.
“People are drawn to places that are out of bounds,” he says. “If you tell people they can’t go there, they want to see what’s behind the walls.”
THE disused railway line between Youghal and Midleton will be repurposed as a greenway.
A cycle and pedestrian route linking the two towns will be developed which will also connect the villages of Mogeely and Killeagh.
The route will be 23km in length and a planning application for the project has just been published. It will be developed in line with Transport Infrastructure Ireland guidelines that require a width of 4 metres for a greenway.
County Mayor Patrick Gerard Murphy said the greenway will be an economic boost for east Cork.
“The Midleton to Youghal greenway will strengthen the attractiveness of east Cork in general as well as Youghal and Midleton in particular,” he added.
County Hall chief executive Tim Lucey said it will be of great benefit to locals.
“This greenway will form a fantastic local recreational amenity and form a key feature in promoting a sense of place and pride for its residents.”
The greenway will also traverse an area known as Ballvergan Marsh where it is proposed to create a boardwalk structure over a distance of approximately 2.58km. This will form a wildlife viewing point.
There have been reports of Fota Island Resort’s “Wendy the Witch” being filmed in numerous locations around Cork – but for what reason??
There are rumours that they are planning a new family-friendly Halloween event. It is expected that it will be much like their Christmas experience events in a way that it will be family and child friendly.
Halloween at Fota Island Resort – are the rumours true?? We will keep you informed, so stay tuned for more details!
Ring of Cork are proud to announce the soon arrival of their very own Travel Series. Several Ring of Cork members will be featuring in the videos as the series will showcase the destinations of Cobh, Youghal, Ballincollig, Midleton, Ballycotton, Whitegate and Crosshaven. Stephanie from OnTheQT.ie will be presenting the videos as she travels to new destinations every week to experience what the Ring of Cork has to offer.
A new 5-minute video will be airing every week through social media and our website while also featuring on OnTheQT.ie’s blog. Keep and eye on the Ring of Cork website and Facebook page for updates!
Since last year, Feast Cork has stepped up onto the solid foundations created by the Midleton Food Festival over the past fifteen years, and started to build a festival that stretches beyond Midleton to the Victorian seaside town of Youghal and to the stunning seaside jewel of Ballycotton, creating a new focus for a young festival with old values and traditions, designed to celebrate this embarrassment of riches of a region.
Feast Cork 2018 runs from 2nd to 9th September, again based in the market town of Midleton with its rich food heritage but with a strong focus on the wider region, and will once again be a food and drink festival with a sure sense of place. A festival that happens at harvest time – appropriately for a gathering up and bringing together of the best of what the area has to offer – Feast Cork is a fresh blend of conversations, dinners, markets, foraging, mixology, produce, producers, landscape, heritage and storytelling.
Bringing together a host of hardworking, innovative food producers from all over this landscape that is largely defined by food production and food heritage, Feast Cork is a celebration and showcase that mixes the old and new, the traditional and the innovative.
From the individual and small-scale but crucial producers, farmers, fishermen and cooks in the region that add layers of authenticity and history to the community, to the ethos originally created by Myrtle Allen at Ballymaloe House and Cookery School that has become a global force of nature that can be felt in the best kitchens from Sydney to San Francisco, East Cork resounds with a genuine sense of celebration of the local, the seasonal, the real. Feast Cork capitalises on and magnifies that shared ethos and those shared values in the most celebratory way.
Feast Cork has grown from the strong roots put down by the Midleton Food Festival over the past fifteen years, and now this harvest celebration holds out its arms to the wider region, creating new coordinates for this vibrant young festival, coordinates that they hope will shine brighter each year on the food festival map of Ireland – coordinates that are pure Feast Cork.
Programme of Events
There will be plenty of fun, food and entertainment for all the family throughout the week. The FEAST Launch Party takes place on Sunday, 2nd September at the courtyard in the Jameson Distillery featuring none other than Mundy!!
On the 19th August this year Youghal will once again celebrate its renowned beauty, heritage, history and welcoming camaraderie with its celebrated and award winning Youghal Medieval Festival.
Celebrating National Heritage Week, Youghal Medieval Festival will bring together over 150 performers, entertainers, musicians, historians, re-enactors and over 40 events. It will all take place on Sunday 19th August 2018 with many other ancillary medieval happenings on the Saturday (18th).
The Full Programme of Events:
Between 10am and 4pm: Sir Walter Raleigh’s Treasure Trail of St. Mary;s Collegiate Church & Grounds
Tours at 10.30am and 2pm: Guided tours of St. Mary’s Collegiate Church (30 minute duration).
At 12noon: The fascinating true story of “Carolina – The Princess of Capua”.
At 1pm: “Urban Wildlife” – Explore our natural heritage at St. Mary’s Graveyard (30/35 minutes).
At 3pm: “St. Mary’s Collegiate Church” – Custom & Liturgy directed its architecture.
From 6pm to 8pm: FREE Gala concert with noted vocalists Caroline Fraher & John Daly.
Between 10am and 4pm: Sir Walter Raleigh’s treasure trail of St. Mary’s Collegiate Church & Grounds.
Between 10am and 4pm: “Can you dig it?” Archaeological dig for kids! (suitable for ages 8+. 35 minutes).
At 12noon and 3pm: Medieval Battle!
Between 12noon and 5pm: ‘The White Horse Vikings’ Medieval Village Experience.
Between 12noon and 6pm: A whole range of kids fun! (Face painting, coin pressing, balloon magic and so much more!)
Between 12noon and 6pm: Show N’Tell Archery Display with Peter O’Connor.
Between 12noon and 6pm: Animal Magic – interact with some of the most majestic and awe inspiring creatures, Birds of Prey.
Between 12noon and 6pm: Artisan Food and Craft Fair.
At 12.30pm and 3.30pm: Kids Medieval Battle! (suitable for kids 7-10 years).
At 1.30pm: Performance by Youghal Pipe Band.
Tours at 2pm and 4pm: Guided Tours of St. Mary’s Collegiate Church.
At 2.30pm and 4.30pm: ‘Janey Mac’ by Cork Favourties the Dowtcha Puppets.
Mackey Coaches add THREE new minibuses to their fleet!
Mackey Coaches are delighted to announce their purchase of three stunning new LDV minibuses. With two 15-seaters finished in pure white and a striking lava grey 17 seater, they bring added comfort and prestige to their ever-growing fleet of vehicles. The buses are top of the range, with the grey bus being full tour spec, including leather seats!
The new buses are now available for hire and are suitable for all occasions from weddings to corporate tours. For more information call Cliona on (086) 834 6756 or email email@example.com.
Hop Onboard for an Unmissable Cork Harbour Sunset Cruise
A cool ocean breeze on your face, a salty spray on your skin, watching the sparkling water and basking in the beauty of a glorious pink and orange sky as the sun begins to set on the horizon. Doesn’t this sound like an idyllic summers evening? You could be sailing around scenic Cork Harbour, chasing the sunset, during a special 2 hour long Sunset Cruise departing from Crosshaven on July 13th at 8pm.
The cruise is being run by ‘Ocean Escapes’ on their new Cork Harbour tour boat experience, which operates daily between Cork and Cobh, and has quickly become the hottest ‘summer bucket list’ thing to do in Cork in 2018. The tour guides and crew have witnessed some remarkable sunsets as the boat docks each evening in Crosshaven and decided that Cork locals and visitors might also enjoy spending some time on the open water ‘chasing the sunset’. Tickets for the Sunset Cruise from Hugh Coveney Pier in Crosshaven are €15 per person or €20 for two people, and can be bought on board.
If you can’t make this Sunset Cruise, but would still like to get out on the water to enjoy breath-taking views, famous sights, nature & wildlife, fascinating stories, and all the maritime history that Cork Harbour has to offer, you can book a place onboard the 72-seater tour boat from either Port of Cork Marina, Custom House Quay in Cork City or Kennedy Quay in Cobh. See oceanescapes.ie for times and prices. Tours depart daily until September from Cobh or Cork City. Or, if you are more of a thrill seeker, you can book a tour on one of the Ocean Escapes exhilarating high speed ribs.
For more information contact Ocean Escapes 021 2339049 (Mon- Fri 9.30am- 5.30pm) or see www.oceanescapes.ie
1500 Australians will arrive in Cobh early on Friday morning, 27 July, aboard the cruise ship Sea Princess to a true Irish ‘ Australia Day ‘ welcome.
The stop is part of a 107 day around the world cruise from Sydney to Sydney. Cobh will be the only Irish port on their voyage that will visit 38 ports, transit both the Suez and Panama canals, and travel an incredible 59,000km.
As has been the case since 2009, Cobh Tourism will roll out the red carpet and has christened the day’s festivities ‘Australia Day’ in Cobh, making it one of the passenger’s favourite destinations because of the welcome they receive.
Cobh’s Festival atmosphere will include nonstop free entertainment from 11am in the town’s waterfront Promenade. This will include traditional music and Irish Dancing, Market Stalls and a farewell musical knees up with Cobh Confraternity Band, and all are welcome to attend.
While many of the passengers will take half day excursions, many more will enjoy the wide variety of attractions that are just a stone’s throw away from the ship. “There are so many world class attractions in Cobh now that the ship should really be making an overnight call to make the most of all that there is to see and do,” commented Fionnghuala Smith, chairperson of Cobh Tourism.
Visitors can trace their ancestors at Cobh Heritage Centre, take the ferry to Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction, Spike Island, solve riddles and puzzles at Escapade Cobh, dress up old time like First Class Passengers from the 1900s in Cobh Pastimes; explore the history of the Titanic at the Titanic Experience, visit the famous St Colman’s Cathedral, play a round of golf or go boating with Cork Harbour Boat Hire. They may also wish to explore Fota House and Fota Wildlife park or they could take a trip to the nearby Jameson Distillery. They could also quite simply enjoy the great ‘craic’ in Cobh’s pubs.
A visit to Spike Island from where many convicts were held captive before being transported to Australia will be a must for many passengers as will the “Blessing of the Bonnets” ceremony in Cobh Heritage Centre at 6pm to honour all convict women and children transported to Australia,
‘Roses from the Heart’ is a unique memorial to the 25,566 convict women transported to Australia from Ireland and Britain from 1788 to 1853. It was conceived by Tasmanian Conceptual artist Christina Henri and a beautiful bonnet has been made to remember almost all of these women and children. “These women and children were forgotten for decades,” said Christina. “Their lives and their circumstances today seem unimaginable. It’s hard to believe the fortitude, resilience and courage that saw so many of these women survive and contribute to the Australian Nation enjoyed by so many today. They deserve to be remembered with gratitude,” she continued.
A bonnet installation in Cobh Heritage Centre remembers the women and children aboard the Neva that sailed from Cork on 8th January 1835, destined for the prisons of Botany Bay. There were 240 people on board, most of them either female convicts or the wives of already deported convicts and their children. On 13 May 1835 the ship hit a reef just north of King’s Island in Australia and sank with the loss of 224 lives – one of the worst shipwrecks in maritime history.
As the Sea Princess sails at 10 pm, Cobh Confraternity Band will perform their renowned sailaway recital on the Bandstand at 6 pm. Of the 1950 passengers on board, 79% are Australians and 17% are New Zealanders. Their average age is 71 and 1300 of the passengers are doing the full Round the World voyage.
Next year’s Round the World voyage, which includes a visit to Cobh on 11th July 2019 is already on sale with prices for the entire trip starting at just €15,000 all inclusive.
With the fine weather due to continue BAGETELLE are all set to entertain you in the seaside town of Youghal at the free open-air concert on the GIG RIG for the annual Queen of the Sea festival.
The festival weekend which takes place in the town centre from the 13th -15h July 2018 is set to be packed full of so much fun, entertainment and activities for all the family that it’s an event that simply should not to be missed!
Kicking off the festival on Friday 13th is a Fancy Dress contest followed by the first introduction to this year’s Queens with a Preview on stage with Red FM’s Brenda Dennehy, Followed by New Bedford playing on the GIG RIG.
Saturday will see Nealons Quay area transforms into a food and craft village for the weekend with everything from mouth-watering gourmet Sausages, BBQ Burgers Paella and Pizzas to warm Crepes and waffles with chocolate sauce and fresh cream and an amazing selection of baked goodies and sweets to keep any “foodie” full for the day.
Saturday evening sees the Crowning of the Queen of the Sea with host Brendan Hennessy followed by the FREE, open air concert with THE BEE GEE’S tribute, live on the GIG RIG. Followed by the Spectacular FIREWORKS display!
Throughout the weekend, festival goers are encouraged to test their skills in the ultimate fitness challenge. There’s also plenty of fun activities for the kids to enjoy with the free Crab Fishing and Sandcastle Building Competition. Entertainment Face painting, Amusements, and a fun Dog Show.
Treat yourself to some fun, come for the craic, stay on for the music, you won’t be disappointed.
Youghal Queen of the Sea supports YOUGHAL CARDIAC FIRST RESPONDERS & the YOUGHAL RNLI LIFEBOAT
The memory of 200 East Cork men killed in the First World War will be kept alive by a memorial wall in Midleton.
It is the culmination of three years’ work by a small group of locals who sought to identify as many as possible of the area’s war dead.
The names have been cut into the monument on 10 panels made from the same Portland stone used in the grave markers synonymous with the burial places of millions of those killed in British Army uniforms in the 1914-1918 war.
A central panel will carry a simple message telling visitors that the monument is in memory of men from the greater Midleton area who died.
The initiative started out to just find the names of men from the parish around the town itself, but it was extended beyond those 83 names to add those from neighbouring areas such as Ballycotton, Cloyne, Castlemartyr, Mogeely and Carrigtwohill.
Committee member Tom Walsh said three years of research and checking various sources was undertaken by the group, some of whom have relatives named on the wall.
We put an awful lot of work into researching the names and stories of these men, but we’re not saying it’s complete. If there are people whose names we’ve missed, we would hope to put up another panel or two at a later stage,” he said.
The memorial wall is at the Baby’s Walk park area at the distillery end of Midleton’s Main St. It will be officially unveiled at 2pm on Sunday June 10 by Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney. There will be Belgian and French diplomatic representation, as well as Irish Defence Forces and a British military attaché.
The standards of the most prominent Irish regiments which fought in the First World War will be carried by members of Óglaigh Náisiúnta na hÉireann (Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen and Women).
The monument has been commissioned and erected with financial assistance from a number of sources, including Cork County Council and others.
A war memorial already exists in Whitegate, and a First World War memorial plaque was unveiled in Midleton in 2016 to mark the centenary of the commencement of the Battle of the Somme.
Cobh Museumare delighted to announce their 2018 Exhibitions which this year feature Anchors Aweigh, the story of the American Navy in Queenstown (Cobh) total of 92 American ships were stationed in Cork Harbour during the last two years of the World War One.
Also featured is the scuttling of the AUD 1916, in collaboration with Mr. Jim Shealy, B.A. (Hons) will explore this event which took place in Cork Harbour. On display as part of Cobh Museum’s 1916 Commemorative Exhibitions will be a rifle and cartridges from the Aud. Cobh Museum overlooks the harbour where the gunrunning ship “Aud”, was scuttled on April 22nd 1916.
And finally, the story of the RMS Lusitania – A day in May, which was sank on May 7th 1915. Explore the story of the 1,962 passengers and crew on board, including 128 of 139 American passengers on board, changing the course of World War One
More about Cobh Museum
Cobh Museum, housed in the former Scots Presbyterian Church (built in 1854) has been open since 1973 and plays an important role in telling the story of the town of Cobh. Run by a team of volunteers, it is an unexpected delight to visit. A gem in Ireland’s Ancient East, it stands at the entrance to the town overlooking Cork Harbour. Many of the original church furnishings remain, forming a sympathetic background to the varied and changing exhibitions.
Come through the red door and prepare to be surprised. You will immediately be immersed in the history of Cobh(or Queenstown as it was once known). The town, always associated with ships and shipping, is shown through photographs and displays which also reveal its social and commercial history and its strategic role in the maritime and military history of Cork Harbour. Mementoes of the great liners, including the RMS Lusitania, sit alongside artefacts which will spark memories of childhood and the past. Look out for this year’s special exhibition!
A small souvenir shop, advice on genealogical research, a quiz for children and a warm welcome await you in Cobh Museum.
Fota House, Arboretum & Gardens will open again for the season on Saturday March 24th with a weekend of activity for everyone. “Come and spend some time with us at our beautiful Regency house, take in the gardens in the spring sunshine and enjoy our special garden trails for all the family. We also have a variety of house trails for children,” says Victoria Tammadge, Fota House’s General Manager.
“We are thrilled to announce that Bakestone, one of Cork’s best eateries, will be launching their new café at Fota House. Bakestone share our passion for offering visitors locally sourced produce and the best of each season, and they will be serving produce from the Victorian Working Garden here at Fota House”, she continues. Bakestone will be serving up a wide variety of fabulous eats every day and promise some exciting food events to come! Visit Bakestone.ie to discover more.
Fota House will be hosting an exciting programme of fantastic family events throughout the year, kicking off with the Easter Nature Trail on 30 th and 31 st March and the ever popular Spring Plant Fair on 22 nd April. “Our goal here at Fota House, Arboretum and Gardens – part of Ireland’s Ancient East – is to continue to bring the property to life and share it with all our visitors; keeping the heart of the property beating is what’s it’s all about!”
Fota House operates guided tours from 10:00 – 17:00 daily (including Sundays and bank holidays). The award winning Victorian Working Garden at the rear of the property is also well worth a visit. Manned mainly by Fota volunteers, it is open Monday – Friday, 10:30 to 15:00 and 13:00 to 16:00 on Sundays, perfect for an after lunch stroll. Since 2007, Fota House is owned and managed by the Irish Heritage Trust, an independent charity, and all proceeds are invested back into the upkeep and restoration of the property.
Fota Island Adventure has been awarded “Sports Business of the Year” at the annual Irish Sports Industry Awards, held on Wednesday 7th March at Smock Alley Theatre.
Presented by Joanne Cantwell from RTE, Fota Island Adventure were one of 12 winners at the awards on evening which recognise and reward excellence in the sporting industry, while simultaneously highlighting the contribution of Sport to Ireland.
Derek Binchy of Fota Island Adventure said “I’m delighted for the whole team here at Fota Island Adventure. This award is a true testament to the brilliant work and dedication that everyone puts in on a daily basis. We’re constantly evolving and aiming to be the best that we can be and thanks to the amazing partnership with Fota Island Resort we have some very exciting developments in the pipeline.”
Director of Marketing at the Fota Collection Seamus Leahy said “At Fota Island Resort we’re all delighted to see Fota Island Adventure take home this well-deserved prize. The partnership with Fota Island Adventure is a natural fit for us and we’re excited to see what new projects they’ll be bringing on board in 2018.”
Hidden in the woods along the shoreline of Fota Island, part of the natural surroundings of Fota Island Resort, Fota Island Adventure is the perfect setting for a day packed full of excitement.
Whether it’s a family trip, a solo visit, a corporate retreat or a school tour, there is something for everyone at Fota Island Adventure. From water sports such as kayaking and orienteering, and forest activities like obstacle courses, bushcraft and finding the sniper – your adrenaline rush awaits.
Our award-winning team development package is delivered by expertly trained instructors, with many being current and ex-members of the Irish army, and this professional team put together a range of daily activities and bespoke packages designed to stimulate, challenge, build confidence and provide hours of fun!
Quality Hotel Youghal has shot forward from number 8 to number 4 on Trip Advisor’s Top 25 Hotels for Families in Ireland. This is fantastic news for the Team at Redbarn.
“ It is very satisfying to see us move up the charts in the category “Family Breaks” as that is our market”. Noted GM, Allen McEnery. “To come in at number four in Ireland is a great result and a vote of confidence in the hotel, its staff and facilities. This result has inspired and motivated us and we hope to continue to deliver top quality family breaks to all our guests.” Alan added, “A huge thanks to our customers who have been so supportive in their reviews on Trip Advisor. I hope that will will continue to reach and hopefully exceed their expectations in 2018”.
The hotel is opening for the February Midterm Break, and then will open for weekends only until St. Patrick’s Day, when it will open full time. Our Self-catering accommodation is available all year
All our Chestnut and Alpine accommodation across the park is being updated and refreshed for the 2018 season. And in addition to this, there will be a new spectacular covered plaza at the heart of our main centre. Boasting an expansive skyline roof, the Village Plaza will bring together amazing entertainment and a host of dining experiences, all under one roof!
This high tech engineering project will link together buildings in Trabolgan’s main centre, providing an all-weather facility at the Village Plaza. The expansive and spectacular 18,000 sq. foot roofing structure, made from transparent polycarbonate materials, will shied visitors from the unpredictable Irish weather, without blocking the light shining in. It will bring together outdoor adventures, live entertainment and casual dining in a spacious and comfortable environment where weather is never an issue! Connecting all venues in the main centre from our Shops to our Pool Paradise, the Village Plaza is the perfect place to unwind and watch the world go by.
So don’t delay, book your 2018 family break TODAY and
get up to 33% off selected breaks
when you book and pay in full by the 31st January 2018.
Kevin Cullinane, Head of Communications at Cork Airport, pictured addressing the audience at the “Getting On Board” Tourism Seminar with the Ring of Cork at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Little Island.
Kevin Cullinane – Head of Communications with Cork Airport was the Guest Speaker at the “Getting on Board” Tourism Seminar at the Radisson Blu, Little Island on the 13th of December 2017. The Seminar was organised by Ring of Cork and it coincided with their AGM. Over sixty tourism businesses from the region were in attendance.
In his presentation, “Maximising Incoming Tourism”. Kevin told us about the work that the Airport do to attract new airlines to Cork, whilst working in partnership with Tourism Ireland. Although Cork Airport is the best airport in Europe in their class and has won numerous awards, what really matters to the airline, is the destination. Kevin is a great promoter of Cork and being from Cobh himself, knows how to sell the Ring of Cork tourism businesses to potential airlines. As he said, “it isn’t all about great runways and terminals”. He also spoke about how all tourism businesses could maximise opportunities from markets in Switzerland, Spain and the USA.
Cork Airport is the international gateway to the South of Ireland and is uniquely positioned at the start of Ireland’s Ancient East and the Wild Atlantic Way. It is the country’s second busiest and best connected international airport after Dublin with connectivity to over fifty destinations. More than 2.3 million passengers will travel through Cork Airport this year, 57% Irish residents and 43% overseas visitors flying from destinations across the UK, Continental Europe and the USA on year- round services from Boston Providence with Norwegian. In June, Cork Airport was named Airport Council International (ACI) Best Airport in Europe in its class (serving under 5 million passengers).
Veronica Murphy of The Discovery Partnership pictured addressing the audience at the ÒGetting On BoardÓ Tourism Seminar with the Ring of Cork at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Little Island.
Veronica Murphy of The Discovery Partnership followed Kevin’s presentation. In her presentation, “Maximize your Markets- Connect & Network”, she spoke about Visit Kent and how they have increased their visitor numbers via maximising markets through connecting and networking and getting on board with the Ring of Cork.
Elga Ryan of SECAD, who manages Ring of Cork presented the 2017 programme of activities to the audience. Ms. Ryan spoke about the ROC supports that Ring of Cork provide to tourism businesses through the delivery of leading edge training programmes and the provision of marketing tools as well as connecting tourism businesses together at networking events. This was very evident at the lunch break, where lots of connections were made and relationships formed from the wide range of tourism businesses who were in attendance from East Cork, Cork Harbour and the greater Cork region.
Ring of Cork connects and supports tourism businesses through marketing, training and networking. It supports the development of sustainable tourism businesses and helps to maximise business potential. Ring of Cork supports local jobs and the local economy.
Elga Ryan, SECAD, pictured with guest speakers Kevin Cullinane, Head of Communications at Cork Airport, and Veronica Murphy of The Discovery Partnership, at the ÒGetting On BoardÓ Tourism Seminar with the Ring of Cork at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Little Island.
The 2017 Ring of Cork AGM and Tourism Seminar take place place on December 13th at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Little Island at 12PM.
This year our keynote speaker at our “Getting On Board” Tourism Seminar is Kevin Cullihane Head of Communications at Cork Airport.
Kevin will be discussing “Maximising Incoming Tourism” within the Ring Of Cork region.
Kevin will partner Veronica Murphy, Director of Discovery Partnership, and will be discussing “Maximize your Markets – Connect & Network“ presenting at this years event
All tourism businesses are welcome and encouraged to attend the free event. There are however limited tickets, so booking is essential, which you can do so on the Ring Of Cork website: www.ringofcork.ie/training
Networking with existing Ring Of Cork members and Festive Bites with Tea / Coffee on arrival for all guests.
Following the “Getting on Board” Tourism Seminar, Ring Of Cork will hold their AGM at 1PM. SECAD Development Officer Elga Ryan will be presenting with information about how the region and website / marketing improvements are doing from the 2017 year and the plans for 2018 and beyond.
The Good Room presents, a brand new music festival:
It Takes A Village
Featuring: Young Fathers – Andrew Weatherall – Talos – Fujiya & Miyagi –
Brian Deady – The Altered Hours – Le Boom – Oh Pep! – Donal Dineen – John Daly – Bitch Falcon – Nialler9 – Anna Mieke – Seamus Fogarty – Cian Finn – Sunday Times – Strength NIA – Lilla Vargen – My Name Is John – Ryan Vail – Kevin Barry –
Sim Simma – Bocs Social & many, many more to be announced
Ever fancied being at a festival, hidden away from the world, in a secluded setting on the edge of the Atlantic… with a roof over your head? This coming April, there’s something happening in Cork that will change the way people think about festivals in Ireland. From Friday 13th to Sunday 15th of April, It Takes A Village drops itself on to the landscape in the idyllic and pastoral surroundings of Trabolgan, East Cork.
It Takes A Village is unique in that they offer 150 self-catering houses and apartments, plus 35 fully-serviced campervan sites, contained in Trabolgan Holiday Village. There is no camping in muddy fields here, your booking includes accommodation and unlimited access to the huge variety of entertainment. It’s a residents only affair for the festival weekend, with a limited amount of day tickets on Sunday. This event is strictly over 21’s.
The first announcement from festival organisers features an abundance of eclectic electric artists:Young Fathers – Andrew Weatherall – Talos – Fujiya & Miyagi – Brian Deady – The Altered Hours – Le Boom – Oh Pep! – Donal Dineen – John Daly – Bitch Falcon – Nialler9 – Anna Mieke – Seamus Fogarty – Cian Finn – Sunday Times – Strength NIA – Lilla Vargen – My Name Is John – Ryan Vail – Kevin Barry – Sim Simma – Bocs Social… with many more artists and activities still to be announced.
The village will feature three main venues, as well as a multitude of pop-up stages all over the 120 acre site. The swimming pool, with its wavemaker, slide, hot tub, and balmy conditions will host some steamy tropical party tunes from supreme DJs on Saturday and Sunday mornings, with some amazing aquatic audio and synchronized sounds. All leisure activities at Trabolgan like go-karting, archery, 5-a-side soccer, zip line, climbing walls, crazy golf ,and par 3 golf, will operate from during the daytime over the weekend. If that isn’t enough, the festival will also host some talks and walks around the Roches Point and Trabolgan area for those interested in a bit of history and a stroll.
Expect big sound, killer lighting and top live performances. Wordsmiths, MC’s, raconteurs and poets will be dropping rhymes and reason; art installations will be popping up, down, and around, the wooded valley on site; great food will be brought to you by some savage stalls and food trucks from only the finest local producers in the rebel county. It Takes A Village will be a home away from home with a musical soundtrack covering a broad palette of tastes, styles and rhythms. It’s a place to meet and make new friends whilst having modern conveniences, comfort and never being more than two minutes walk from your new home!
Ticket prices range from €205 – €255 (including booking fee) per person for Tier 1 booking options, and you must, with your friends, buddies, lovers, colleagues or family, book a house, apartment, or camper van ticket, for the weekend. It’s a collective ticket, with 2-9 sleeper options available. Tickets go on sale Thursday 7th December at 4pm from www.ittakesavillage.fm. Avoid the rush and get early access on Wednesday 6th December by registering on the It Take A Village Facebook page.
It Takes A Village is brought to you by Cork entertainment mavericks The Good Room, Joe Kelly and Ed O’Leary. They are the guys behind Live At St Luke’s, Crosstown Drift and Fleischmann In The Glen at Cork Midsummer Festival, as well as many top class events and parties over the years. They never fail to create memorable experiences in unique spaces around the city and county of Cork, this will be no exception.
Well done too, to Quality Hotel and Fota Wildlife on their recent Golds, awarded by YourDaysOut. Well done also to Perks Entertainment Centre and Cork Harbour Boat Hire too on their well deserved Silver.
We always knew that Cork is one of Ireland’s top destinations for family breaks and fun days out.
Now we have the proof!
Thousands of people recently voted in the YourDaysOut Awards and they recently announced the winners of the top things to do in Ireland.
The winners were selected following thousands of votes spread across 161 entries in 9 different categories.
Cork collected two GOLD awards with the Quality Hotel & Leisure Centre in Youghal picking up top prize for Best Family Break and Fota Wildlife Park winning the Best Zoo/Aquarium category.
Cork also picked up four Silver awards with Leisureplex, Clonakilty Park Adventure Centre, Perks Entertainment Centre and Cork Harbour Boat Tours proving the county really is the perfect choice for a family get-away.
Ciaran Dunne, co-founder of YourDaysOut said, “Ireland has some amazing things to do all over the island and YourDaysOut gives people an easier way to find information and businesses a simple, cost-effective way to reach them.”
“The competition was exciting to run. Being only a new company, but one that is growing very fast, it provided us with a great opportunity to ask our audience about their favourite days out.”
Research shows that one out of every five domestic holiday trips is families travelling with children (850,000 per annum) while one in ten overseas visitors are travelling with their family.
Tourists don’t make decisions in isolation and research nearby attractions when considering hotels, while the latest tourism barometer from Failte Ireland shows that marketing campaigns have helped business performance in 2017. *
YourDaysOut – recently nominated for an Eir Spider for Digital Start-Up – is a great place to start researching your next trip, birthday party or family break.
General Manager of the Quality Hotel & Leisure Centre in Cork, Allen McEnery said:
‘We are delighted and grateful to be a Gold Winner in the Your Days Out Awards. This honour acknowledges the hard work of all at the hotel in delivering first-rate family breaks. We thank all who voted for us. The team at Your Days Out have created a brilliant resource for people looking for fun things to do in Ireland and we wish them every success in their nomination for Best Digital Start-Up 2017 in the eir Spiders awards next week.’
FULL LIST OF WINNERS:
Each category has an overall Gold Winner and three Silver Runner-Ups.
Nearly 600 twinkle-toed helpers queued for the opportunity to be part of Beyond at Fota Island Resort this week, at auditions for elf helpers held in The Kingsley.
Answering a call from a certain gentleman in red, hundreds of applicants patiently waited to dress up and impress as elf helpers at Beyond’s Dancing with the Elves, the auditions held for Beyond at Fota Island Resort, this year’s magical winter event for all the family.
Photographed at The Kingsley Hotel Cork during the casting call for “BEYOND” the Christmas experience at Fota Island , Cork were: Ryan O`Sullivan, Tralee, Kayne O`Callaghan, Midleton and Ciara O`Niell, Cathedral Rd.
Each winter the gorgeous woodlands at Fota Island Resort are transformed by Santa and his magical elf helpers into a dramatic and exciting Christmas experience for the whole family with tickets going on sale for this year on September 29th. The weekend’s busy auditions could see over 100 lucky elf helpers taken on to help deliver this highly individual and utterly unique event.
Dancing with the Stars contestant, Dayl Cronin was there on the day to MC, with Santa Claus assisted in the judging seat by 2FM’s Jennifer Zamparelli and Red FM’s Izzy Showbizzy and Colm O’Sullivan. The judges were impressed by the level of talent this year, meeting 17 toy makers, 12 gingerbread men bakers, 2 elf nutritionists and even a reindeer whisperer amongst the potential assistants!
Beyond at Fota Island Resort runs from the 23rd of November to the 23rd of December. Individual tickets for Beyond at Fota Island Resort cost from €10 to €16 per adult and €15 to €26 per child, depending on dates and times, with children under one free, and tickets will be available from 29th September on www.fotabeyond.ie.
For further details on great value family packages which include early bird tickets to Beyond at Fota Island Resort see www.fotaisland.ie.
Spike Island is nominated for Europe’s leading tourist attraction at the World Travel Awards 2017. The awards are the ‘Oscars’ of the travel industry and the highest accolade for any tourist site. Up against the Colosseum, the Eiffel Tower and the Mary Rose museum to name just a few, the winner will be decided on 30th September at a Gala ball in St Petersburg, Russia.
The island is also nominated for a Chambers Ireland award 2017, a Cork Business awards nomination and a Cork Digital Media award.
In the last 1300 years Spike Island has been home to rioters and redcoats, captains and convicts, monks and monasteries and sinners and saints. Its beautiful 104 acres have housed an Island Monastery, Fortress, Prison and Homes and today the island can be reached by a short and scenic ferry from the heritage town of Cobh. Once on the island visitors join Irelands best storytellers for a mesmerising insight into the personal stories of this unique corner of the Ancient East.
Enter the 200 year old Fort Mitchel, the 24 acre star shaped Fortress built to defend an empire that became the largest prison in the world in the 1850’s during the famine years. 2300 inmates were crammed into every corner of the star shaped Fortress. Thousands of Irish men and women were transported to America and Australia from Spike Islands prison, and the island would be used by both the British and Irish army and navy before becoming a prison again in the 1980’s.
Todays visitors can explore the vast Fortress, enter the infamous Punishment block and modern prison cells, see Ireland’s largest military gun park, journey through deep tunnels to the harbour defence guns, enter the former childrens prison and explore the 104 acres of villages, beaches and grasslands. Will you escape from Fortress Spike?
Another string to the bow at Fota Island Resort – Fota Island Adventure adds an extra layer of excitement to any visit
Hidden in the woods along the shoreline of Fota Island, part of the natural surroundings of Fota Island Resort, Fota Island Adventure is the perfect setting for a day packed full of excitement.
Whether it’s a family trip, a solo visit, a corporate retreat or a school tour, there is something for everyone at Fota Island Adventure. From water sports such as kayaking and SUPing, and forest activities like obstacle courses, bushcraft and finding the sniper – your adrenaline rush awaits.
At Fota Island Adventure all the instructors are expertly trained to the highest order, with many being ex-members of the Irish army, and this professional team put together a range of daily activities and bespoke packages designed to stimulate, challenge, build confidence and provide hours of fun!
There are dining options available at Fota Island Resort that can be organised at booking, or, if you are staying at the 5-star hotel or in the lodges at the Resort, you can also chill out in the award-winning spa after your busy adrenalin-fuelled day.
Individuals and Resort guests can book activities from just €20 per person, based on the timetable for that particular day, and corporate groups and teams at Fota Island Adventure can enjoy bespoke packages starting from €80, which include an evening meal.
Fota Island Adventure activities can be paired with any number of luxury add-ons, from overnight stays to the use of Fota Island Resort’s state of the art corporate meeting rooms, from an impressive BBQ area designed for team bonding and winding down to restorative spa treatments.
Large groups can be catered for by the Fota Island Adventure team and can design their own perfect day of activities, depending on numbers.
Apart from made to measure packages, Fota Island Adventure offers a combination of different scheduled activities every day. There is a watersports activity, the timing of which is entirely tide-dependant, which in turn, determines the schedule of the other activities, primarily a combination of field sports, survival training and games involving the obstacle courses.
Choose your activity from the long list of exciting water and woods-based options such as kayaking, SUPing (stand up paddling), canoeing, archery, combat archery (inflatable tag archery), target practice, find the sniper, bushcraft, orienteering, obstacle courses, inflatables and field games.
You’ll need swimwear, a towel, runners that you don’t mind getting wet, and, depending on the weather, either a fleece or thermals and a warm hat or sunscreen and sunglasses (with a string attached).
And then you’re ready to immerse yourself in the excitement of Fota Island Adventure!
Fota Island Adventure activities are suitable for all over the ages (children 8 and under must be accompanied with an adult or parent), with prices starting at €20 for one activity, a half day from €35, a full day’s activities from €60 and a week-long program from €150.
Discover the rich heritage and historic stories in East Cork, Cork Harbour and the greater Cork region with the new Ring of Cork Heritage Trail. In all 36 places to visit ………. round towers and castles, historic cathedrals, military barracks & forts, heritage centres & museums telling stories of emigration, whiskey & potatoes, ancient tombs, great houses & historic buildings & town walks &. Pick up your copy of the A3 Map from your local tourist office or tourism business.
New Ring of Cork Guide out Now. Pick up your copy at your local local tourist office or download from www.ringofcork.ie This guide is bursting with information on activities, accommodation, places to see and eat with free map inside too.
Redbarn Beach in Youghal, East Cork today (22nd May 2017) was officially designated with ‘blue flag’ status for 2017. Redbarn was the only beach throughout the East Cork Coastline to receive the accolade. The Blue Flag, operated in Ireland by An Taisce, is one of the world’s most recognised eco-labels. Youghal’s other main beaches; Claycastle and Front Strand were deemed to be of ‘good’ and ‘sufficient’ water quality respectively by the EPA, which will be very welcome news for the town as it gears up for the start of the traditional tourism season.
The awards were presented by Senator Jerry Buttimer at a ceremony held at the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven, Co. Cork. Speaking at the event Senator Buttimer said: “The Blue Flag has become a truly global symbol with an ever-increasing number of countries participating in the programme. Over the years, the programme has become a highly respected and recognised eco-label working to bring together the tourism and environmental sectors. I am very honoured to be associated with the prestigious Blue Flag programme on its 30th anniversary and to present the awards to this year’s very worthy recipients.” Concluded the Senator.
Redbarn beach is a key location for families from around the country with the Quality Hotel and Self Catering Apartments situated on the beach front. Expectations are high in the East Cork Town for a bumper tourist season in 2017. Welcoming the awarding of the blue flag to Youghal, Manager of Youghal Chamber of Tourism & Development, Siobhan Sheehan believes the good news will only further enhance Youghal’s reputation as one of the finest coastal locations in the country. “Youghal’s water quality is now officially among the best in the country, said Siobhan. Our visitor numbers to the town are already up significantly on last year. This year we have had the opening of the iconic Youghal Clock Gate Tower as a visitor attraction so we now have even more reasons than ever to come to Youghal. We are also looking forward to the roll out of our new pontoon to add to our visitor moorings which were installed last year”. Said Siobhan.
As this year’s Litfest – A Food & Drinks Literacy Festivalat Ballymaloe drew to a close, Rory O’Connell was joined by Slow Food Ireland to congratulate the winners of the Litfest 2017 Slow Food Children’s Art Competition.
Each year of the festival there has been a very successful writing competition. Eight local schools were involved in the first three years of the competition, in 2016 and again this year the competition was extended to schools in Cork County, all of which are involved with the Slow Food East Cork Grow and Cook project, this year art was the focus of the competition.
This year’s winner was Ben Hally, aged 6 from Clondulane National School who won first place for his painting titled ‘The Farmer’. Heather Lees, aged 12 from Ballycotton National School was awarded second place for ‘Grandad Catching Lobsters’ and in third place was Dillon Morrison, aged 6 from Clondulane National School, Fermoy for ‘The Apple Farm’.
The announcement of the winners was made on the final day of the festival on the main stage in The Grainstore, which was home to the Symposium ‘Our Responsibility’ for the weekend. Following the presentation, the paintings were displayed in The Grainstore for guests to view.
The county-wide Slow Food Children’s Art Competition in association with Litfest 2017 asked primary school students to take inspiration from a local food producer to create a piece of art – a farmer, fisherman, baker, jam-maker, gardener, or anyone working in food production whose story they find interesting as a way of encouraging pupils to learn more about local food producers in their area and to promote conversation about the many opportunities in the food sector.
“We had so many wonderful entries this year, colourful, thoughtful and creative it was incredibly hard to pick the winners.” says Rory O’Connell, co-founder of Litfest. “Ben, Heather and Dillon’s drawings and paintings captured our hearts, they were charming examples of children really connecting with their local community and taking inspiration from their locality.”
“We were delighted to welcome our winners of this county-wide Slow Food Children’s Art Competition in collaboration with Litfest to join the festival line-up this year, and be part of our programme of events that includes authors, chefs, foragers, wine experts, educators, journalists, gardeners and the EU Commissioner for Health & Food Safety, Mr. Vytenis Andriukaitis.”
The fifth annual Litfest – A Food & Drinks Literacy Festival at Ballymaloetook place from the 19th-21st May attracted over 8,000 people, young and old onto the grounds of Ballymaloe House and Cookery School.
For the third year in a row, Fota Island Resort is bringing a taste of the Majors to Cork with a themed series of events for golfers to enjoy over the course of the next three Majors competitions. Fota Island Resort will host Open Singles competitions on the Deerpark course in June, July and August, while menus inspired by the three tournament locations will be on offer in the Spike Bar, perfect for indulging in a little deliciously authentic après golf cooking, appropriate to each Major!
While the world’s best known golf professionals are hard at work at the iconic tournaments, golfers can try and emulate those sporting legends and enter Open Singles competitions at Fota Island Resort during all the Majors. Open Singles competitions run at Fota Island Resort to tie in with the US Open in Erin Hills, Wisconsin from June 15th-18th, from July 20th-23rd in line with the Open Championship in Royal Birkdale in Southport, and from August 10th-13th to link to the US PGA Championship in Quail Hollow, North Carolina.
The cost to enter each Open Singles competition is €50 per golfer and the overall winner with the highest score in the series of competitions will win an overnight stay at Fota Island Resort for two with a round of golf.
Once the day’s contest is done, continue the experience with a well-earned trip to the Spike Bar, where themed cooking specific to each Major contest will transport you to the Major of the moment!
In June, enjoy a traditional Wisconsin Beer Brat, a popular Wisconsin dish of Bratwurst simmered in beer with butter and onions. This particular dish features on the Erin Hills Club House menu itself, truly authentic!
In July, the selected dish celebrates the location of Royal Birkdale with a Scouse Stew, a traditional Merseyside beef stew made popular by sailors in nearby Liverpool.
In August, with the PGA Championship in full swing in North Carolina, Fota Island Resort will be serving the classic fisherman’s breakfast from the Carolina coast and a staple of Southern cuisine, Shrimp and Grits.
Experience the Majors at Fota Island Resort with Open Singles and authentic menus – no passport necessary!
Kevin Morris, Director of Golf, Fota Island Resort commenting on the series of events said: “We look forward to welcoming golfers back to celebrate the Majors with us at Fota Island Resort. The resort boasts three traditional yet challenging courses and outstanding unspoilt natural landscapes – the golfing experience we offer is simply unmatched in Ireland and the feedback on our Majors events in previous years has been really positive.”
Cork’s Spike Island has been nominated for Europe’s leading tourist attraction at the prestigious World Travel Awards 2017. The awards are the ‘Oscars’ of the travel industry and there is no higher accolade for a tourism site. The Island joins Buckingham Palace, The Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum and the Acropolis in the top ten sites chosen to compete for the European category. Winners will be chosen by public vote with votes from those working in the tourism sector counting double.
The nomination caps a remarkable 12 months for Spike Island following its reopening in June 2016, with a nomination for a Chambers Ireland tourism award followed by a nomination at the 2017 Irish Tourism awards for best leisure tourism innovation. Over 6.5 million was spent turning the former Monastery, Fortress and Prison into a visitor attraction in 2016, in a project co-funded by Cork County Council and Failte Ireland.
Reached by ferry from Cobh, visitors to the island are taken on a guided tour through the islands 1300 years of history. The island was home to 6th century monastery before a 3000 capacity star shaped Fortress was built in the early 1800’s, to protect the Southern approaches to Western Europe. That same Fortress became the largest prison in the world in the 1850’s, when its numbers swelled during the famine years to over 2300.
The prison would close in 1883 and the British army would reside there for the next 55 years before a handover to the Irish state in 1938. The Irish army and navy would use the island and fortress over the next 47 years before the island became a prison once again, until as recently as 2004.
“We are blessed with rich authentic history that has echoed the demands of the mainland for many centuries”, said Island manager John Crotty. “Religion, military and Penal interests have all played a part in Spikes history, as well as centuries of civilian life”. “The island stands as a living testament to the changing faces of Ireland’s history, and that history is brought to life by the world’s best storytellers who are truly passionate about the island”.
“The aim for us is to become the go to destination for the South of Ireland, and to be seen on a par with Titanic and the Guinness Storehouse”. “We want to be a key attraction and cornerstone of Irelands Aincient East”.
Spike Island is looking to make it 3 in a row for Ireland at the World Travel Awards, following the success of Titanic Belfast’s win last year and the Guinness storehouse in 2015. The competitions organisers praised Spike Island for its ‘rich history that is authentically retold using guides and interpreted spaces, the variety of day and night tours and varying ways to enjoy the attraction, and the strength of its visitor feedback’. The island has moved to number 2 in Cork on Tripadvisor ratings, 2nd to Fota wildlife park, and a master plan is in place to grow visitor numbers to over 100.000 visitors.
Company Director David Keane said “It is a marvellous reward for the ambition and courage that was displayed by Cork County Council and Failte Ireland when taking on the refurbishment project. At 104 acres and being an island the site presents many unique challenges, but its story is unrivalled and it deserves to be told’.
The awards ceremony will be held in St Petersburg in Russia in September, and everyone is urged to visit www.spikeislandcork.ie and click the link to vote for Corks Spike Island.
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