RESTAURANTS and hotels in Youghal are thinking about investing in bike stands because of the number of cyclists who are visiting there ahead of an international Ironman in the area this summer.
Owner of The Old Imperial Hotel, Dan Leahy, said that 25% of his business is from Ironman athletes, who are spending their weekends in east Cork training for the mega triathlon on Sunday, June 23.
The event, worth an estimated €8m to the area over the next three years, entails a 3.8km swim, 180km cycle, and a marathon. 2,500 athletes will take part.
Mr Leahy said since Ironman Youghal was announced, the town has been packed with visitors, checking out the routes and getting to know the area.
The hotelier said they were looking at buying bike racks for the huge numbers of cyclists who have been stopping to refuel with food and water.
He has been pulling out “all the stops”, such as storing bikes in the shed and offering a complimentary late check-out, so guests can train in the morning and come back for a shower after.
“We have had visitors from all across Europe, the UK, and from all parts of Ireland. I think people are just blown away that it is the first Ironman in Ireland and, also, east Cork is very accessible. It is 40 minutes from Cork Airport, two-and-a-half hours from Dublin, and one-and-a-half hours from Rosslare.”
Mr Leahy said the cycle route seemed to be the big draw, with the number of cyclists trying the Ironman route increasing every weekend.
“We struggle for industry in Youghal, so we rely on tourism and this has been a massive boost,” Mr Leahy said.
Owner of Sage Cafe, Barry Cuthbert, also said they had increased their trade in recent months and had noticed an increase in groups of cyclists around the area.
“Ironman Youghal has been a great boost. We are looking forward to the event in the summer,” Mr Cuthbert said.