All signs point to a booming Bantry as businesses unite for town's benefit

July 21st, 2018 7:05 AM

By Jackie Keogh

Members of Bantry Business Association: Danny Collins,Theresa O'Mahony, Jim O'Keeffe, Adrian Cronin, Diarmuid Murphy and Jessie Hegarty, with Deirdre Collins of Cork County Council Bantry Office, at the unveiling of the new Wild Atlantic View sign at Seskin.

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Several new initiatives have been introduced in the pretty harbour town to show off all it has to offer – and business is thriving there as a result.

A NEW visitor sign ‘Seskin: Wild Atlantic View’ is just one of the many positive developments that have been taking place in Bantry town recently.

Adrian Cronin, chairman of Bantry Business Association, said the 10ft by 3ft interpretive sign shows the view of the bay in all its glory, but it also has a QR sign that allows visitors to use their mobile phones to access information about the various points of interest by scanning the sign.

Mr Cronin said the organisation is proud of the new initiative – which has received the backing of Cork County Council – because it promotes one of the best vantage points around.

‘Visitors to the town are absolutely mesmerised by the quality of the view here. There is nothing like it anywhere else. It beat’s Lady’s View hands down.

‘In fact, if this were in Kerry, there would be a visitor centre there, bus tours, restaurants and cafés too,’ said Mr Cronin, who actually took the photograph featured on the interactive sign.

It shows the harbour and other places of interest, such as Glengarriff, Garinish Island, Adrigole, the airstrip and Bantry House.

It was organised and designed by Bantry Business Association and part-funded by Cork County Council with the help of the local area engineer, Ruth O’Brien. And there is even a Facebook page with information about it.The business association chairman said he and his members are working in close co-operation with Bantry Tourism and Development Association and by scanning the sign it sends the reader back to their website:

‘We are also working with Cork County Council at the moment to put up six finger posts on the main road to Bantry: one about 500 meters before the turn off to Vaughan’s Pass; one immediately at the turnoff; one at Wolfe Tone Square; one at Bantry Library; one at the turnoff to the new school; and one on the road leading to Seskin: Wild Atlantic View.’

Mr Cronin said the business association is working closely with the Bantry Port Company too and together they have introduced new signage at the town’s new marina to attract people into the town centre.

‘For 75% of the year, the sign at the marina – as well as the other signs outside the Council offices off Wolfe Tone Square and outside Lidl on the road to and from Ballylickey – advertises shopping in Bantry, but we are able to alter them by inserting an 8 by 4 sheet into the front to promote events like the West Cork Chamber Music Festival, or the upcoming West Cork Literary Festival.’

The members are also working with the Port Company to enhance the visitor experience of those who are now visiting Bantry on the cruise liners.

‘We had the Nautica visit recently and the passengers were very impressed with the town. I’m told that it is very rare for the captain of a ship to come ashore, but this one did and he said he thoroughly enjoyed his visit to the town.’

Another encouraging development in Bantry is the increase in the business association’s membership. 

‘Memberships are now up to around 140. We are so busy, we meet every two weeks. Normally, we have breakfast meetings in a different venue every time. We meet at 7am and are done and dusted for 8.30am, so we are all in time for work and ready for business by 9am.’

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