Local Development Strategy – Mizen Community Partnership responses

Mizen Community Partnership Response for request for input:  Local Development Strategy 2015 – 20 (West Cork Development Partnership) The following draft notes are a response to the request for input to the ‘Local Development Strategy’ which defines the basis for applications for funding assistance under the ‘LEADER’ programme. Four themes have been defined to guide the development of the strategy and these are expanded below to show where they match the guidelines set out in the ‘Integrated Strategic Development Plan’ for the Mizen Peninsula. Theme 1.                   Rural Economic Development/Enterprise Development and Job Creation Rural Tourism. Development of ancillary on-site attraction at the Mizen Signal Station. Development of off-site attraction to complement the Mizen Signal Station Diversification of the existing maritime related tourism offer. Establishing a formal cultural calendar for the Mizen. Improve the online and offline marketing profile for the Mizen. Enterprise Development. Goleen Harbour ‘Eco camp’ project falls within the guidelines of the plan. Development of hostel based centre-point in Goleen. Broadband Pursuit of improved broadband access and connectivity. Support for the development of E-centres as enablers of local commerce. Rural Towns. Development of cultural and heritage centres. (Ballydehob) Theme 2. Social inclusion through building community capacity, training and animation. Basic services for hard to reach communities. Development of improved communication links with areas and local initiatives. Rural youth. Development of sport related support facilities and amenity services. Development of local sports and recreation on offer. Theme 3. Rural Environment – A cross cutting requirement for all LEADER interventions. Targeting multiple environmental objectives including the protection and sustainable use of water resources, the protection and improvement of biodiversity and the development of renewable energy. Development of environmental, educational based tourism in nature areas. Pursuit of environmental Geopark status. Creation of community energy conservation and renewable energy portfolio.  Theme 4. Support for Food Producers. Development of food production activity. Further integration of food production activity and local community life. Answering the request for input based on four questions relating to the above themes.  Answers are compiled from the experience gained through the Mizen Development Partnership and represent draft examples for expansion through the committee. What are the current and/or future growth opportunities that can support development in your COMMUNITY? Developing the Mizen as a centre of excellence for tourism and education in the areas of renewable energy, conservation of energy, conservation of water, water and waste water treatment, protecting the environment and protecting bio-diversity. Developing the links for artisan food producers with local community markets. Extending those links to national and international markets. The addition of significant attractions for tourists, making use of the heritage and maritime history associated with the Mizen. Promotion and publicising of existing and future festival and regatta style events through interlinked website and social media. Development of the small boat facilities including launching sites, and providing support facilities for kayaking, sailing and dinghy users. Improving access to more off road walking trails particularly coastal routes. What are the current and /or future growth challenges… Read more

A Day on the Mizen

ONE DAY ON THE MIZEN Travelling the 15km west from Skibbereen along the N71,   ‘The Wild Atlantic Way’ joins the Mizen Peninsula at Ballydehob.   (www.ballydehob.ie) Head towards the village over the river and turn left towards the famous landmark ‘twelve arch bridge’ built in 1886 for the West Carbery Tramway and Light Railway. Children will quickly discover the well-equipped play area while you study the range of signs and boards for walking and cycling trails. In no time you are looking out over the surrounding countryside from the top of the bridge and talking about an early coffee break or even breakfast. A stroll into the village rewards you with a great cup of coffee and information on up and coming music festivals of many types. The pub windows carry notice of traditional sessions and visiting musicians. After loading up the family and topping up the fuel tank it is time to continue the journey west. You say goodbye for now to the bronze statue of World Wrestling Champion Danno O’Mahony! After a leisurely ten minute drive watching the imposing Mount Gabriel getting ever closer, the R591 sweeps around a bend and reveals the sea. Pull in for a moment and look out over Schull Harbour and to the islands beyond. Travel a short distance further and turn left into the car park. Another play area beckons to the children but the pier, surrounded by all types of boat, calls and soon you are watching in amazement as a heron wanders around in front of you searching for discarded fish. The black head of a seal pops up close by and a trawler gets underway. A wander up to the main street of the village soon has you armed with the ‘Discover Schull’ guide (www.schull.ie) and you read about the island boat trips and the kayak experience, the fishing expeditions, the Planetarium and the many many other attractions on the Mizen. Do take a walk past the sailing club and along the seashore. The many shops in the village allow gifts to be purchased and supplies to be replenished. Leaving Schull you realise that time has ceased to matter and make a detour off the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ along the narrow coast road. Suddenly, at the top of a hill, the whole of Roaring Water Bay is presented. A breathtaking panoramic view reaches from Mount Gabriel to distant headlands, your destination to the west. For the first time, standing out in the middle of the ocean, you see the Fastnet Lighthouse. Take the time to listen to the silence. The coast road rejoins the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ close to the beach at Toormore where it meets the R591 which loops down Dunmanus bay to the village of Durrus (your route to the Mizen if you are travelling from Bantry a distance of 27km). Keep heading west, always west. The landscape is becoming rugged and more mountainous. The sea is never far away. Soon you will arrive in the village… Read more

Cork Branding Strategy -Workshop 2015

Report on Cork City/Council Branding Workshop Spring 2015 The following notes may be of interest to anyone hoping to co-ordinate their own commercial approach to the tourist industry on the Mizen with the official Cork City and Council policy. Cork Councils are intending to promote both the City and the County on a worldwide basis as a tourist destination and have identified a number of key areas that are to be targeted. It is clear that in any enterprise seeking any form of assistance in terms of promotion or funding that enterprise would have to tick the following boxes. It was made clear at the meeting that the areas outlined would be the basis of the ‘Branding’ promotion. Making maximum use of the nationwide branding of the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ was also seen as a fundamental aspect of the Cork tourism development, the City of Cork being seen as a ‘gateway’ to the WAW. Target Visitor Group Two specific groups of potential visitors have been identified. Culturally Curious: Those who are seeking a closer experience of the place they are visiting and engagement with the local population. Identified as 32 million potential with some 7 million having a warm feeling towards Ireland. Great Escapers: Looking to trade the stress of busy day to day life for a more remote and quieter environment. Low maintenance looking to reconnect with partner, to connect with nature. Identified as 67 million potential with some 9.5 million having a warm feeling towards Ireland Both groups are typically looking for some adventure, but not too much. Interested in food, music and having fun through engagement in the environment. Not primarily interested in walking, cycling climbing etc but prepared to sample varieties of activity. Seek out cultural venues such as festivals, food experiences Age group 35 – 54 Competition Other Countries such as Scotland are targeting similar groups. Ireland has to compete in this market place. It was recognised by reference to the words of ‘Dr Johnson’ speaking of the Giant’s Causeway, ‘Worth seeing yes, but not worth going to see.’ Ireland cannot trade on world-class destinations (pyramids, Taj Mahal etc) but has to draw people in. Cork has to identify what we are going to be best at, famous for. We need a narrow focus and must provide what people want to buy not what we want to sell. We have to identify what attracts people to Cork. The Wild Atlantic Way is seen as a major step in the right direction and we must take the opportunity to benefit from its promotion. Wanted Authentic culture in mid priced accommodation Immersion in the culture Broadening the mind. Self directed exploration The story brought to life Not Wanted Tourist traps Raucous party scene Package holiday Target Group Characteristics Interested in the story around the origins of the place Have disposable income Very informed Technically able using iPhone, iPad etc Aspirational, hungry for new experiences, active and engaged. Looking for their own private adventure. What is Cork best… Read more

Goleen Harbour Project

An invitation was extended to Local Community Groups to meet with Matt Mills in order to visit and discuss the proposed development at Goleen Harbour. The following report outlines the intentions for this project and gives links for further information. Further local communication would be welcomed by Matt. Of particular interest was the way in which the proposed project fits in with the objectives set down in the ‘Integrated Strategic Development Plan’ for the Mizen Peninsula. The project location is on the East side of Goleen harbour and extends to the harbour entrance with Cliffside and farmland extending to some 37 acres (exact area to be confirmed). Much of the site is designated as a conservation area and includes the site of the now disappeared Ballydevlin Castle. There are two specific areas of flat field, one being the former football pitch. It was emphasised that this is seen as a ‘low impact’ development. The existing farmhouse is in a derelict condition and subject to flooding. This is to be replaced with a new structure as part of the plan. The following words are transcribed from the information leaflet provided by Matt and outline the plan in more detail. We aim to create a small, beautifully formed, contemporary ’Eco Camp Site’ with 16 pitches with 6 pre-pitched furnished bell tents. For those wanting more space and privacy we will have luxury 6 metre ‘Geodesic Dome tents sat on decking with outdoor kitchens that will blend into their clifftop settings on the edge of Goleen Harbour and Ballydevlin Bay. As an alternative we will have two ‘Pods’ one of which will be sited in the ‘Fastnet Camping Field’. Our setting is a beautiful, unspoilt, historic organic farm on the east side of the sheltered harbour at Goleen West, Cork. The holding will be further enhanced by the planting of approximately 10 acres of native woodland along with artistically crafted sculptural structures and flags. The campsite will be complemented by a range of environmentally friendly activities that this unique loation can facilitate, such as; Geo-caching, Treasure Hunting, Sea Kayaking, Field Archery, Archery Tag, Frisby Golf, Walking, Cycling and Fishing. In addition we will have massage and beauty therapy treatments onsite in our purpose built studio enabling us to offer something to do for all the family. Weare now creating a loop walk that will pass through the woodland area and on around the cliffs overlooking the harbour and back into Goleen village. All these activities and therapies will be available to anyone staying in the area. It is one of our aims to give our visitors more reasons to stay on the Mizen Peninsula. Our farm will produce certified organic fruit and vegetables and probably beef. We will be offering a ‘Box Scheme’ to the holiday homes, residents and businesses in the area. We also plan to have a farm shop selling only West Cork produce in recognition of food tourism being a strong growth sector. Our horticulturist will be offering gardening tips… Read more

Strategic Local Development Plan

  In 2014 The Strategic Local Development Plan for the Mizen Peninsula was completed. Commissioned by West Cork Development Partnership and Goleen and District Community Council, the objective of the ‘Plan’ was to guide initiatives aimed at developing the area in the future. Economic issues such as insufficient local employment opportunities, loss of working age population and the closure of local services are addressed through the Plan. A key aim is to identify a number of realistic development objectives and actions that will enhance the profile of the area, building on local strengths, knowledge and skills to create opportunities for all. The Plan recognises the value of ‘joined up’ thinking and partnership on the Mizen and the benefits of strategic working in the wider West Cork areas The Mizen Community Partnership has been set up to act as a communications link throughout the communities of the Mizen and brings together the districts of Ballydehob, Schull and Goleen. Please contact us if you would like a copy of the plan emailed to you in PDF format. ____________________________________