Bandon's rich heritage ‘needs to be tapped' for tourism potential

July 29th, 2017 7:15 AM

By Southern Star Team

The Heritage Centre in Bandon: ‘People don't even realise the Centre is here,' said Cllr Rachel McCarthy of Sinn Féin.

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By Kieran O'Mahony

BANDON'S rich historical heritage should be tapped into and promoted more, according to a Bandon-based Council member. 

Speaking at a recent meeting of Bandon Kinsale Municipal District, Cllr Gillian Coughlan (FF) said there is a need for more investment to be put into promoting the town as an historical tourist destination.

‘There's a whole 500 years of history that could be told here and it should be explored and the Heritage Centre here in town should also be funded,' said Cllr Coughlan.

‘This area is littered with significant events and there is a desire by people to visit and see these areas. While I welcome the proposed Michael Collins Trail, there should be a micro trail around Bandon and Crossbarry as there is a hunger for it among schools and tourists. I think the trail should be rebranded as the Irish Revolution Trail.'

Cllr Coughlan said one of the other tourism highlights in Bandon is fishing on the river and that it could be promoted more to attract anglers and said if the town could achieve one trail, that would be good.

Cllr Rachel McCarthy (SF) supported Cllr Coughlan's call for the promotion of the town and said there is a gaping hole as Bandon is not mentioned in a lot of tourist trails.

‘People don't even realise the Heritage Centre is here, and it needs more input. We also have a river here and this should be highlighted, as there are endless possibilities for water-based tourism,' said Cllr McCarthy. ‘There is a lack of investment of tourism in this Municipal District and especially in Bandon. Kinsale has the name, but we have to highlight Bandon more. A businessman said before the Bandon river should be at the centre of the town.'

Cllr James O'Donovan (FG) agreed with his fellow councillors that the history in the town should be explored more.

‘There are people here who have a wealth of knowledge about the town and it could be lost in the future. While they're still here, it should be nourished,' said Cllr O'Donovan.

Senior executive engineer Charlie McCarthy said there was potential to develop walking tours around Bandon and agreed that the knowledge is with local people, which should be developed.

Cllr Alan Coleman (Ind) made the point that the Council should be promoting the centenary of the War of Independence, which will happen next year.

‘They know West Cork was the epicentre of activity and towns like Bandon and Dunmanway have an opportunity now to market this. Our director should take this up,' said Cllr Coleman.

Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) said it would be a good idea to ask for expressions of interest from people who want to be involved in any trails and council official Mac Dara O h-Icí said that he will examine putting a public proposal together.

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