Archive for April, 2008

Starbucks

April 29, 2008

An interesting article appeared in the papers this week about Starbucks. The share price has halved in the past year and the brand which has suffered from soaring commodity prices and the American downturn has been stumbling.

One young chap in New York commented that it’s too pricey, the coffee isn’t as good as it used to be and lastly it has become New York’s public rest rooms. Another chap pointed out that the only difference between a grande (medium) and a venti (large) coffee is the extra milk but no extra coffee.

I am a staunch advocate of the local cafe outlets so would not be overjoyed to see a Starbucks in Bandon. In this country we have come a long way from the watery instant coffee that used to be on offer to cafes that offer top class produce. Try The Early Bird, Urru and Seats in Bandon. You will certainly not be disappointed. Each of these cafes has a unique atmosphere and layout and each one offers great coffee. We don’t realize how lucky we are. We could have a high street full of chains all offering the same standard ‘school uniform like’ fair.

Many of our English guests here at Kilbrogan House have commented on how great it is to shop in a town like Bandon where there are so many independent stores. Lets keep it that way! Who wants to sample the same thing everywhere we go.

Bandon Community Spring Clean

April 25, 2008

The Bandon Community Spring Clean has already begun so it’s time to get involved.

Residents from the Gaggin area of Bandon filled over 20 large black bags with refuse dumped along the road just yards from the Recyling Centre (much of it recyclable).  Participants from the Rosmini Centre in Bandon did a fabulous job cleaning up the Railway Walk that runs from near Innishannon to Bandon.  Fas cleaned up part of the town park and members of Sinn Fein collected over 30 bags from the riverwalk below Supervalu.  We still need to remove approximately 25 Supervalu trollies from the river and hope that Supervalu will give us some assistance in this process.

A mountain of waste was removed from Blue Hill which runs parallel to the Clonakilty Road between Gaggin to the Recycling Centre.  An entire skip was not enough to accommodate all that was collected in this area.

Help us save our countryside and do your bit for Bandon Spring Clean.  Tomorrow, Saturday, 26th April there will be a concerted effort to clean up Castle Road leading out to the golf course.  The clean up starts at Hartes Car Park in Bandon at 10am but join us anytime along Castle Road on the way to Bandon Golf Club.  We need as much help as we can get.  This road out beyond the 60km limit is sparcely populated so we need people from further afield to help us!

Today was the schools turn to get involved in the spring clean.  Sadly the weather played havoc with the schedule and some of the schools have deferred their clean up until next week.

Innishannon Flower Festival

April 25, 2008

The launch of the Innishannon Flower Festival is this evening at 7pm. This is a joint venture between St Marys Roman Catholic Church and Christ Church Innishannon Church of Ireland and the funds will be split between their respective restoration projects. The cause is a worthy one and the entrance fee is only euro 10 which includes the admission to the festival in both churches and tea in the national school opposite St Marys Church.

Many Flower Clubs are taking part in this festival and the churches look truly amazing inside. Take yourself down to Innishannon over the next few days. You can even buy some plants at the plant sale in the tent at the back of Christ Church.

Swansea Cork Ferry

April 25, 2008

A new website has been launched called www.bringbacktheswanseacorkferry.com. This ferry crossing ceased to operate in the autumn of 2006 and despite endless pleas has not been reinstated.

The lack of a ferry crossing from Cork to Swansea is having a very bad impact on tourism in West Cork. Tourists coming to this area must enter via Rosslare or Dublin which in turn means a much longer drive to their destination. Oftentimes, tourists now leave one day early and stay near the ferry port.

A weak sterling exchange rate against the euro means that those travelling from the UK are far more conscious about costs than they were in the past. Those coming to South West Ireland in their own cars do not have to worry about the cost of car hire but alas they now have to drive a great deal further.

We need to have this valuable crossing reinstated. Those of us like myself who have lived in the UK for many years make frequent trips across the water – We have also been greatly inconvenienced! It is certainly much easier to get from the UK to France these days than to get from the UK to Ireland.

West Cork Calling members like ourselves at Kilbrogan House have been lobbying hard alongside other tourism businesses over the entire South West. We need to keep up the pressure to get this service reinstated.

Failte Ireland – New Self Catering Approval Process

April 25, 2008

Failte Ireland have designed a new approval process for individual self catering properties. The scheme features a star rating classification system and new online application process.

TAMS (Tourism Accommodation Management Services) will be the organisation responsible for inspecting and approving new and existing properties of behalf of Failte Ireland, the tourist board.

Properties in the scheme will be eligible to use the term ‘Approved to Failte Ireland Standards’ and will continue to have access to www.discoverireland.ie

An American family’s first impressions of South West Ireland

April 16, 2008

A family of four Americans from Ohio having been staying with us over the past three days.  It is their first trip to Ireland.  They asked four interesting questions:-

1.  How come none of the public pay phones work yet we were able to buy a calling card.  How are we supposed to use the card?

2.  How come we can find no public toilets or else if we do, they have no toilet seats, paper etc etc.

3.  Why is there so much litter everywhere?

4.  How come the signs on the signpost at the bottom of your street have miles pointing towards Bantry, Enniskeane etc and kilometres pointing towards Macroom on the same signpost.  Have you divided up the country so that some places are still in miles and some in kilometres?

The answers are of course obvious to those of us who live here namely,

1.  the public phones probably don’t work because everybody has a mobile

2.  I doubt any locals use the public loos except those in shopping centres

3.  Pay by weight as we all know is a total fiasco.  Give people an option whether to pay for their garbage collection or not and they will choose not to pay!  I suspect that a scarey number of people in this country do not subscribe to a refuse collection facility.  Many can’t even be bothered to recycle so put their garbage in bags and drive to the nearest forest, farm, quiet laneway, grave yard etc and dump their bags.  I can take anybody who wants on a tour of our area to take a look at mountains and mountains of garbage dumped a mile or two away from the town.  Forget a tax amnesty, we should be campaigning for a litter amnesty.  We are destroying our country.

4.  Kilometres and mile signs.  The government promised us that when we changed over to kilometres, they would change the signs but sadly now the celtic tiger isn’t roaring quite as loud and tax receipts are down so we can forget any improvement in signeage.  GPS will become an essential piece of equipment in any car in the future.

Failte Ireland South West launches e-business course for small accommodation providers

April 12, 2008

Failte Ireland South West has developed an e-business programme to help small accommodation providers integrate computers and the internet into the daily management and promotion of their tourism business.  The sessions will be run between April and June, 2008 and the locations will include Killarney, Dingle, Cork and Kinsale.  There are introductory courses for those not familiar with the internet and an intermediate programme which will include search engine optimisation, email management, how to book online and how to get found online.

A euro 50 fee applies for those participating in the programme.

Failte Ireland sells off Ireland of the Welcomes Magazine

April 12, 2008

Ireland of the Welcomes magazine is a popular tourism publication distributed by Failte Ireland mainly in North America and continental Europe.  Last week Failte Ireland announced that it has sold the publication to Dublin based Harmonia Ltd which currently publishes the likes of Womans Way, Food and Wine magazine, Irish Tatler, Auto Ireland and Diarmuid Gavin’s Garden Designs.

The remit of Failte Ireland no longer includes promotion of tourism to Ireland as this now falls under the remit of Tourism Ireland.  Instead Failte Ireland’s focus is the development of tourism in Ireland hence the desire to part with the Ireland of the Welcomes magazine.

Bandon Action Plan

April 8, 2008

A number of Bandon groups have come together to prepare an action plan for the improvement of Bandon town centre. The groups include Bandon Town Council, Bandon Traders, Bandon Business Group and the local Chamber of Commerce. Matrix Associates of Cork has been commissioned to draw up a plan.

The objective is to focus on the assets and heritage of the town and to improve the pedestrian and traffic environment. Key elements are to include:-

  • A review of parking and traffic arrangements.
  • Town centre streetscape and environmental improvements
  • Improvements to building frontage
  • Enhance amenities and improve pedestrian facilities
  • Improve lighting and signage
  • Enhance bus facilities, routing and timetables

Innishannon Flower Festival – 25th, 26th, 27th April, 2008

April 7, 2008

The parishioners of St Marys and Christ  Church Innishannon will stage a flower festival jointly on the weekend of 25th, 26th and 27th April, 2008 as a fund raiser for their respective churches.  The opening ceremony will take place on Friday, 25th April at 7pm.  Opening times for the festival are Saturday and Sunday   12pm – 6pm.  Tickets are euro 10 and will be available at the door.  The Theme is celebrating community