GREETING summer with both hands, Ballydehob village has opened a tourism centre and launched a fresh new website all in one day last week.
On Tuesday, July 12th, the doors of the old Bank House, long deserted by AIB and purchased by the Ballydehob Community Council in 2013, opened with little fanfare but much enthusiasm.
The new tourism centre, ‘has been hopping,’ according to Josephine Jefferies, who runs the centre with a team of enthusiastic volunteers.
‘The first day saw such a rush of tourists that meant I was busy seeing to their needs the whole day. So far we have helped tourists book rooms online and find the answers to a host of questions such as “what to do in just one afternoon on the Mizen Peninsula,” details of B&B’s and “who cleans windows in Ballydehob”? We see how much information we still need to collect to make everyone happy.’
As a non-commercial venture, the community council aims to promote Ballydehob and the Mizen Peninsula as a whole.
‘The Mizen Partnership Group have designated Ballydehob as the official Gateway to the Mizen,’ explains council member and Bank House project manager Eugene McSweeney. ‘This means we are in a strategic location to market the Mizen Peninsula, the islands and, of course, our own place.’
The final touches to the Bank House were made last week with the assembly of furnishings, information leaflets, display of locally-available arts and crafts, and a splash of new paint.
‘Ballydehob was always noted for its bold colour schemes and, with this in mind, we have chosen dramatic colours to invigorate the town centre and show that we are open for business. Even more dramatic signs are to follow to mark it as the Mizen Gateway Tourism Centre,’ says McSweeney.
The building has been renovated so far through fund raising and grants from the Cork County Council.
Later this year two more rooms will open to house themed displays and exhibitions on local archaeology, history, sporting heroes and artists and the popular ‘Talks at the Vaults’ will continue in the autumn.
Anyone involved in the tourist industry is invited to drop promotional literature into the office for display. The Ballydehob Tourism Centre is open from 10.30am to 5pm Monday-Friday until September.
Simultaneously, Ballydehob’s new website was launched with a fresh modern look and easy-to-use format. Acknowledging that the internet is the first port of call for any savvy traveller, the site draws attention to the village’s many points of interest and the variety of commercial and voluntary groups that contribute to its sustainability.
Currently the site highlights more than 100 shops, services and treasures that can be found around Ballydehob with alluring photos, lively descriptions and helpful links.
Organisers who are determined to represent every business and community group in Ballydehob and its hinterland are inviting anyone who has not yet been listed on the website to email [email protected] with their contact details.
Upgrading the Community Council-owned site was a collaborative effort between the Ballydehob Community Council and the Ballydehob Business &Tourism Association. For up to date news they also keep an active and popular Facebook page and Twitter account.