Probably the most historic visitor attraction in the country is about to re-open writes Michael Flood.
Spike Island Cork is looking forward to giving domestic visitors a memorable day out following its reopening from May 31st. Visitors can enjoy the short boat trip, tours, over a dozen museums and scenic Island walking trails. The café will be open for takeaway service until indoor dining resumes.
The island attraction was opened as a visitor attraction in Café2016 and has enjoyed four successful years. Visits grew from 27,000 in year one to 81,000 in 2019. The island had been hoping for another season of growth. But the Corona virus has dramatically affected those plans. in both domestic and international visitors, in 2020 and 2021,
Island manager John Crotty said “We are delighted that we are able to reopen and offer our Irish visitors an escape from the mainland, in what has been a difficult time. It has been another difficult year for Irish tourism sites, as well as the towns they operate in. It is important for our departure town of Cobh that there are reasons to visit, so we will work hard to deliver safe and exceptional tours during this time”.
The island had been hoping for increased international visitors, particularly from American visitors, as the site is showing on two Discovery channel programmes there. However, international visitors are expected to be negligible this year.
Mr. Crotty said “It will be a disappointment not to continue our growth in international visitors, as they bring a high spend into an area. With bed nights, local food, retail and transport spend, it ultimately means more jobs”.
“This is now very much a reset year for Irish tourism, and we have to ensure we are ready and place ourselves in the mind of international travellers keen to travel again from 2021 on”.
Visitors will still be able to enjoy the island’s 104 acres of nature and wildlife, scenic island walking trails, over a dozen separate museums and exhibitions and children’s areas. The cafe and gift shop will also be open daily, and visitors are invited to bring or buy a picnic, to enjoy one of the several picnic sites. There are stunning views of Cobh and Cork harbour.
A new exhibition on the island for 2021 – ‘Imprisoning a Nation’ will tell the story of the 1921 Republican prisoners held on the island, in their own words, in the centenary year.
The island will operate a number of safety measures including significantly reduced capacity and socially distanced queues. The will be a one-way visit system and face coverings for adults on the 10 minute ferry journey. T
The island’s spacious 104 acres, museums and galleries, make it an ideal place for a visit during the restrictions. The island attraction is open daily for July, August and September and hopes to open for weekends for October and November, with optimism for doing After Dark tours from September, and its popular Halloween events.
Entry is €22 for adults, €11 for children under 12 and €53 for two adults and two children, book here.