30 May 2021
By Elaine Murphy
Spike Island Cork is looking forward to giving domestic visitors a memorable day out, and an escape from the mainland, with its reopening from May 31st. Visitors can enjoy the short boat trip, tours, over a dozen museums and scenic Island walking trails. While the cafe will be open for takeaway service until indoor dining resumes.
The Cork County Council site is set to reopen after its enforced closure due to Covid-19 restrictions. The island attraction was opened as a visitor attraction in 2016 and has enjoyed 4 successful years, growing its visitors from 27000 in year one to 81000 in 2019. The island had been hoping for another season of growth, in both domestic and international visitors, in 2020 and 2021, but the Corona virus has dramatically affected those plans.
Island manger 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, which 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 islands 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, with stunning views of Cobh and Cork harbour. There is also 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 centaury year.
The island will operate a number of safety measures including significantly reduced capacity, socially distanced queues, a one way visit system and face coverings for adults on the 10 minute ferry journey, as per government guidelines. The islands spacious 104 acres, and very large 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.