BY KIERAN O’MAHONY
WEST CORK is battling with Kerry to get signage recognition on the main routes leading into Cork, a meeting of the West Cork Municipal District in Bantry heard last week.
Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan, who raised the motion calling for a ‘West Cork Tourism’ sign to be erected on the N40, said the issue of signage for West Cork comes up periodically.
‘We’ve heard the argument before and got the response that gantries – which support signage – were near capacity at the Jack Lynch Tunnel but we’re battling with Kerry as a tourist destination,’ said Cllr O’ Sullivan.
‘We’re not on the map like Kerry and it’s exacerbated by the fact that there is no signpost for West Cork as a destination.’ Cllr O’Sullivan highlighted France as a good example of effective signage as towns are earmarked 20km before drivers approach them on the motorways.
‘These signs definitely work and draw people to an area,’ he said. ‘Also, as you travel the N25, you have to turn off for Youghal and there are great signs there for tourists which work, so we’re really missing out on an opportunity. We have wonderful tourist destinations here that aren’t being recognised.’
To address the problem of the lack of room on the gantries at the Jack Lynch Tunnel, Cllr O’ Sullivan said one sign would suffice with all six towns of the municipal district listed on it, coupled with an iconic image of West Cork.
Cllr Mary Hegarty (FG) said it isn’t the first time she has heard about complaints around signage.
‘There is an overuse of (signs) directing people to Kerry, if we are to be real around our tourism our signage is seriously lacking. The Beara Peninsula is stunning and is better than Kerry and we are really falling behind,’ said Cllr Hegarty.
‘There is the success with the signage of the Wild Atlantic Way but we got to be real about the branding of West Cork.’
Cllr Paul Hayes (SF) said the lack of signage for West Cork is giving mixed signals to tourists coming into Cork.
‘It’s like a mass herding of people being directed to Tralee and Kerry instead of West Cork,’ said Cllr Hayes.
He also commented that the signage that is there tends to be covered by hedges so tourists can’t actually see them.
Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) described some signs in West Cork as ‘filthy’.
‘A lot of the signage needs to be cleaned as they look awful in some places. There is a sign indicating a blackspot area outside Bantry and you can’t even see it as it’s so dirty,’ said Cllr Collins.
Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind) said that Council officials were meeting with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) this week to discuss a number of issues. As a member of the Transport Special Purposes Committee (SPC) he said he would ensure this issue of the lack of signage for West Cork would be included on the agenda, ‘We can bring back feedback and we might get a better response from them face to face,’ said Cllr Hurley.