Bantry’s new town centre Marina opened on Friday 11th August. The marina, with approximate 40 visiting yachts this week, is already contributing added value to this very attractive West Cork location, with an estimated 200 sailors being evident in local shops, restaurants and pubs.
Opening the new facility, Port Chairman John Mullins referred to an investment of over €8 million in the harbour and marina development, underlying the strong commitment of the Port Authority (Cork and Bantry) to the development of Bantry as both a commercial and leisure hub.
From a Cool Route perspective, focusing on the potential of marine leisure to bring business to local enterprises, Bantry Marina is an important asset. The nearby Bantry Maritime Hotel was first to step up to the mark offering special breakfast deals for sailors- an offer eagerly taken up, judging by the Saturday morning diners. Additionally, the Maritime has offered a special deal to marina users for access to its fantastic leisure centre, located immediately across the road from the marina.
It is expected that other Bantry businesses will follow suit, offering a wide range of services, things to do and see. At least one boat has availed of a local kennel to mind the family dogs, during the holiday stay over on the marina.
John Mullins, Chairman of Ports of Cork and Bantry, Gavin Deane, General Manager Royal Cork Yacht Club, Dr. Norman Kean, F.R.I.N Author of the Irish Cruising Guides, Richard Cudmore, Irish Cruising Club and Dr. Breda Kenny, Head of CIT Hincks Centre for Entrepreneurial Excellence and Cool Route Project Lead- with the Cool Route new invitational brochure for super yachts and small liners to visit Cool Route locations.
The opening of the marina was accompanied by a weekend festival, with plenty going on in terms of food, music and entertainment. Famous Cork Balladeer Jimmy Crowley was in attendance with sailing friends, all of whom are wonderful traditional musicians and who provided a very special evening’s entertainment for those lucky enough to have been in a local hostelry on Friday night.
Saturday afternoon saw the arrival of the Lady Christine into Bantry. The 68 metre super yacht looking resplendent in the setting sun, while sitting at anchor just off the marina. Regular readers will be aware of the Cool Route work this year with superyachts and the invitational brochure produced . The high quality publications can be viewed here .
Photos Superyachts at Bantry: left the 68 metre Lady Christine arrives in Bantry for the Marina celebrations and right mega-yacht Starlight during a visit and photographed at anchor in Bantry Bay, near Castletownbere.
The Bantry Marina, is predicted to significantly increase the role of Bantry Bay as a major leisure hub for the South of Ireland. The highly scenic Bantry Bay is among the largest sheltered bodies of Irish waters and provides a range of local destinations for sailing and boating enthusiasts. These locations include Lawrence Cove Marina, on Bere Island, Castletownbere, Adrigole with its Sailing School, Glengarriff and Garnish Island and last but not least, one of Ireland’s best kept secrets – Whiddy Island, with its pontoon, great pub and restaurant and a wealth of history.
Special services from enterprises around Bantry Bay to sailors include a free pick-up and return to the LookOut Restaurant on Bere Island , Cool Route all day food at the Bank House, Whiddy Island and special deals at the Maritime Hotel in Bantry. Marine repairs services are also available in the Bay.
Hopefully , a local Bantry enterprise may consider developing a yacht chandlers section, as this was seen as a general shortcoming in The Cruising Preferences Survey undertaken by Cool Route in 2016.
Cool Route recently completed an Economic impact Assessment on the value of sailing to Cork Harbour-showing that marine leisure annually contributes €10.9 million to the local economy. This confidently indicates that the new Bantry marina and general expansion of the leisure marine sector in Bantry Bay will deliver very significant economic benefits for engaged local enterprises.
For any Bantry enterprises interested in maximising revenues from the growing sailing activity in Bantry Bay, we suggest reading the project’s recently published Marketing Strategy.