CORK could have its very own Tall Ship hotel berthed on the quays before the end of October, serving food and drink and with luxury rooms for overnight stays.
A company which has planning permission to moor a floating hotel on Penrose Quay is planning to dock a smaller ship, the 55-metre Anna Marjorie, at the location while work continues on finalising the longer term plan for a larger vessel.
Sick & Sore Limited say they have had very constructive meetings with both the Port Of Cork and Cork City Council and the project now only requires sign off from the fire officer. They hope to get the nod in the coming weeks in order to get the ship, which is currently in the Netherlands, to Cork before the winter sets in.
“I must compliment the Port of Cork, they have been brilliant to deal with and so encouraging,” Sam Corbett said. “It is very refreshing to see how supportive the Port and City Council were.”
He believes the Anna Marjorie will offer a totally new experience for Cork diners.
“This ship is beautiful, it will be such a unique venue and can hold up to 100 people on the deck if the fire officer certifies it,” he said. “There is a huge commercial kitchen on board so there will be a restaurant, people will be able to come on and have a drink and some nice food.”
The vessel, which was built in the 1930s and is currently in use in the Netherlands, will require minor modifications but they believe it can be operational within weeks of getting approval.
Mr Corbett’s partner Cathal O’Connell, the man behind Paddywagon Tours, would like to get the Anna Marjorie to Cork within weeks.
“We hope to have the tall ship in by the end of October because she has to sail across from Antwerp and I wouldn’t risk it in high seas,” he said. “Even though she is a very worthy ship, she is at the moment with sea tours and corporate events in Antwerp but I’m not risking her in bad seas.”
They hope the Anna Marjorie will whet the appetite of diners and tourists while they plot an epic journey to get their longer-term target to the harbour.
The pair have identified a five-star floating hotel which is currently for sale and comes with deluxe double cabins and suites, a restaurant, bar, panorama lounge, sun deck with pool, Jacuzzi and spa facilities. The only problem - it is landlocked in Egypt.
“We have to get it across 200 miles of desert to get it to the sea,” Mr Corbett said.
“It was built in Cairo but they have since added hydroelectric dams on the Nile. It was operating around Luxor. It is 1200 tonnes, it is huge. So it is going to take an engineering marvel to get it to the sea!” Mr O’Connell is adamant it can be done, with engineers intrigued by the challenge.