Ocean Nova first cruise liner to pull into Cape Clear

Irish Examiner - County - - News - Eoin English

A new era in tourism dawned in West Cork fol­low­ing the first visit of a cruise ship to Cape Clear and Schull.

The Ocean Nova dropped an­chor off Cape Clear be­fore the bank-hol­i­day week­end, with a group of 70 bird watch­ers on­board.

It marked the start of a sum­mer sea­son which will see some 12 cruise ship call­ing to West Cork’s har­bours and is­lands, bring­ing ap­prox­i­mately 5,000 vis­i­tors into the re­gion.

Ocean Nova guests were es­corted by guides from Bird­watch Ire­land which man an im­por­tant bird ob­ser­va­tory on the is­land, on vis­its to some of the is­land’s prime birdlife, wildlife, and marine life view­ing spots.

While the main fo­cus of the visit was bird­watch­ing, they also vis­ited the is­land’s mu­seum and its im­pres­sive ex­hibit on the build­ing of the iconic Fast­net Rock.

The ship later charted a course around the Fast­net be­fore en­ter­ing Schull Har­bour, the first time a cruise ship has called there. Coaches brought pas­sen­gers to the Mizen Head Sig­nal Sta­tion and vis­i­tor cen­tre on the stun­ning head­land.

The cruise ship’s call fol­lows a de­ci­sion by Cork County Coun­cil to pur­sue cruise ship tourism.

In 2016, Bere Is­land was in­cluded in the itin­er­ary of a Ger­man cruise com­pany, Ha­pag Lloyd Cruises, a visit which proved so suc­cess­ful that they are due to re­turn on May 18 and twice next year.

The chief ex­ec­u­tive of Cork County Coun­cil, Tim Lucey, said Cork is unique in that it can of­fer a cruise com­pany one type of experience in Cobh and a com­pletely dif­fer­ent experience as they sail west to Bantry, Glen­gar­riff, and the is­lands.

“The feed­back we re­ceive from the cruise com­pa­nies and their guests con­firm that what we have in West Cork is world class and we are con­fi­dent that more such busi­ness will fol­low,” he said.

Mean­while, plan­ning per­mis­sion has been granted for a 216m quay ex­ten­sion project on Din­ish

The new project is be­ing un­der­taken in tan­dem with the de­vel­op­ment of a new har­bour administration build­ing on the main­land which will bring the fa­cil­i­ties in Ire­land’s premier white fish port up to best in­ter­na­tional stan­dards. Is­land in Castle­town­bere.

The first cruise ship to call to Cape Clear, off West Cork, the Ocean Nova. ‘What we have in West Cork is world class and we are con­fi­dent that more such busi­ness will fol­low,’ says Tim Lucey.

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