A PLAN to ensure that Clonakilty becomes a year-round destination outside the summer season is one of several ideas outlined in a five-year plan to make it a destination of excellence for tourists.
‘A Refreshed Vision for Clonakilty’ was launched recently at Clonakilty Distillery by Clonakilty Chamber of Commerce with the aim of committing to a five year marketing plan to re-envisage the Clonakilty district – including Timoleague, Courtmacsherry and Rosscarbery – by 2027.
The chamber partnered with Fáilte Ireland and through workshops with a facilitator last year, they prepared a marketing plan for the town.
Mick Hanly, administrator with Clon Chamber of Commerce, said among their 21 projects over the next five years is one to ensure that the town can become a year-round destination.
‘The season is short so a key focus is how do we push the season into autumn, for example, and the Clon Guitar Festival in September gives us a buzz then. For other periods we need to look at how to bring in people during the off season,’ said Mick.
‘It’s also about increasing the number of distinctive Clonakilty experiences to visitors which is very important and an attraction in itself and introduces the uniqueness of the town to people.’
He said the plan is not solely a Chamber plan but more a ‘community’ plan where everyone can get involved.
‘It gives us more or less the direction which we should take in order to achieve a destination of excellence for Clonakilty.’
He said a tourism destination group will be formed, with sub groups branching into different key areas such as accommodation, tourism destination and attractions and activities among others.
‘We will make a call out in a few weeks and ask a few people to come in and commit to a tourism destination group, which we as a chamber will assist with this.’
Meanwhile, a committee behind a revamp of the town’s playground said they have a shortfall of €67,000 to move the project forward. They having received Leader funding of €100,000 to help replace old and outdated equipment and include a sensory area, new surfaces with 26 new items in their new design.
Eilísh Lawlor told the meeting that the total cost of the project is €190,000 with €23,000 already been raised through donations and local fundraising so far but the pandemic had stalled the fundraising process some bit.
‘We are at a point where we need to move quickly because the Leader funding is time sensitive and as a community we need to come up with a way of making up this shortfall,’ said Eilísh.
‘We are also finalising the lease with Cork County Council and the contractors are ready to commence and order the equipment but they have said is that they can’t hold the prices at the same price much longer.’
She said that ideally the playground would close for two to three weeks in June to facilitate the works with the aim of having a new playground in place by the summer.
‘In order to crack on we need the help of everyone.’