30 May 2018
By Elaine Murphy
A new 72-seater tour boat has been launched for the summer season connecting Cobh and Cork City. Ocean Escapes, a Cork-based company, is investing half a million in the new service and will operate daily guided tours of the harbour from Cobh to Cork City and Cork to Cobh, with a return by rail option, until September.
Locals and visitors alike will enjoy the experience, which will include the sights, sounds and stories of the harbour, told in a fun and theatrical way by engaging guides.
Highlights along the ancient port waterways will include breath-taking views and famous landmarks such as Crosshaven, Rochespoint Lighthouse, Blackrock Castle, Spike Island Prison, Camden Fort Meagher, Haulbowline Naval Base (Ireland’s only Naval Base), Blackrock Castle, Martello Towers, Lord Inchiquin and the Royal Cork Yacht Club, the World’s first Yacht Club, and Cobh, the last port of call for the Titanic, and more. Passengers will also learn about Cork’s fascinating maritime history and hear unique stories about each of the towns, villages and islands along the harbour. Cork has a wealth of maritime wildlife and you might even see dolphins or whales along the way.
Commenting Seamus Heaney, Head of Visit Cork, said, “Cork is Ireland’s Maritime Haven, set in a beautiful coastal environment with a significant maritime history spanning over a thousand years. It is also ideally situated between two of the best experiences in Ireland – the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Ancient East.
“There is a gap in the market for a tour that connects Cork City and Cobh and provides access to our harbour and rich maritime history in an engaging and interactive way. Services like this will open up new markets and help retain tourists and cruise passengers in Cork when they arrive. This is a fantastic initiative and it sits perfectly within the new Pure Cork brand that was recently launched and the Ireland’s Ancient East touring route.”
Also commenting, Lawrence Owens, CEO of Cork Business Association, said, “There has been a huge demand from the business community for a tourism offering that connects the city with Cobh, in order to tap into the huge potential that the cruise market offers, so we are delighted to welcome this development.”
Ocean Escapes is already well known for operating successful rib tours in the harbour. This new venture is a partnership with another local company, Cool Running Events, who are known for delivering exceptional entertainment with Cork on Ice and The Nightmare Realm, and business man Daniel O’Donoghue, who will operate as Ocean Escape’s marine engineer and technician.
Speaking at the launch, Andrew O’Riordan, Owner/Director of Ocean Escapes, said, ‘We are delighted that Cork is being promoted as a maritime haven and hope this new tour offers tourists and locals alike a new and exciting experience on our harbour. So far, we have got incredible support from all the key stakeholders in Cork and we hope everyone continues to spread the word about the Ocean Escapes Harbour Tours.”
The new tour takes 1.5hrs and will run from Thursday 31st May to Sunday 2nd September, sailing from Cork City at 11:30 and 16:00 and from Cobh at 9.00, 14:00 and 18:00. (People are advised to check the website for accurate daily timings as times may change for cruise ships). Tour packages are cleverly paired with return rail connections, allowing visitors to take in the sights of Cork city or Cobh before returning to their origin. Prices start from €16.
The tour boat is also available for private booking and for transport to and from events like concerts in Pairc Uí Chaoimh or weddings, hens and stag parties.
For more information or to book see www.oceanescapes.ie