COURTMACSHERRY, Timoleague and surrounding areas are celebrating this week with the news that the Seven Heads peninsula is to be included on the Wild Atlantic Way (WAW).
The inclusion of the ‘forgotten’ peninsula on route maps, apps and the WAW website, should provide a major tourism boost to the area.
The lobby group formed to have the area included confirmed this week that Fáilte Ireland have agreed to add Seven Heads from the start of 2018.
When the original WAW maps were unveiled in 2014, there was widespread surprise at the stark omission of the peninsula from the route.
At the time, Fáilte Ireland said parts of the route were unsuitable for large vehicles. WAW head Fiona Monaghan told The Southern Star in 2014 that there were stretches of the roadway between Timoleague and Courtmacsherry where it would not be comfortable for two cars to pass each other.
But the locals’ campaign appears to have borne fruit just weeks after junior tourism minister Brendan Griffin met the lobby group and visited the area.
Barry Holland, chairman of the Campaign to Include the Seven Heads Peninsula on the WAW, told The Southern Star that Fáilte Ireland has committed to continuing its engagement with Cork County Council to support ‘the reinvigoration of the Seven Heads section of the West Cork Coastal Route’, along with committing to assisting the committee in the identification and development of a suite of visitor experiences on the peninsula including the Seven Heads Walks, cycling trails and building on the strong connection with the Lusitania.
These are a series of very positive outcomes for the area, said local Cllr John O’Sullivan, who chauffeured the minister around the route during his visit. The campaign also confirmed that a WAW ‘Discovery Point’ would be erected in Courtmacsherry.
‘This will be a big addition to the village, along with bringing a unique visitor attraction to the Wild Atlantic Way,’ Cllr O’Sullivan said. He also welcomed the news that Fáilte Ireland had committed to delivering workshops for the area, to help locals maximise this new opportunity and to ensure accommodation offerings were up to the expected standards.
He thanked Ministers Brendan Griffin and Jim Daly for their support and advice and MEP Deirdre Clune and Senator Tim Lombard for their backing.
Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan from Clonakilty, a member of the campaign committee, said: ‘I have no doubt we will see tourists flock to places like Courtmacsherry, Butlerstown, Lislevane, Broadstrand and Dunworley when the route has been finalised.’
‘We in Cork County Council will work closely with Fáilte Ireland in the time ahead to rebrand the former West Cork Coastal Route and adequately provide signage for the new Seven Heads Coastal Route on the Wild Atlantic Way,’ said Cllr Paul Hayes.
‘We had a very constructive meeting with the Seven Heads working group last week and made really good progress,’ Fiona Monaghan told The Southern Star this week.