Two Cork beaches are set to benefit from funding announced today that will see world-class facility centres installed at 22 locations across the country where water-based activities are a key visitor attraction.
Garrylucas beach in Ballinspittle and Claycastle beach in Youghal are two of the locations set to benefit from the €19m fund.
Each centre will provide hot showers, changing and toilet facilities, secure storage, induction spaces, equipment washdown and orientation points.
They will be fully wheelchair accessible and built using sustainability best practices such as solar heating panels.
The announcement was made due to the significant increase in people enjoying outdoor water-based activities such as kayaking, surfing, paddle-boarding and open water swimming.
Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin and Fáilte Ireland announced the investment scheme, which aims to support the local economy and the outdoor activity sector by significantly enhancing the overall visitor experience.
“Ireland is world-class when it comes to providing water-based activities which are enjoyed by local communities and visitors along our stunning coastline, rivers and lakes," she said.
"We’ve seen a significant upward trend in people enjoying outdoor water activities over the last year and we know the appeal of the outdoors will continue to grow post-Covid-19 so we must ensure the Irish experience meets and exceeds visitor expectations.
"It will support the local economy and the outdoor water-based activity sector by significantly improving the overall visitor experience, providing new business and job opportunities in local communities, particularly in rural areas and allowing for an extension of the traditional tourism season beyond the summer months," Ms Martin added.
Fianna Fáil TD for Cork East James O’Connor has welcomed the announcement to build a world-class facility centre for water-based activities at Claycastle.
He described it as a boost to Youghal that will play a key part in the economic recovery of the area.
“Even in the last few days, with the 5km limit lifted, many people have come to Youghal to enjoy our sea-side attractions.
"Youghal can be a significant tourist destination on Ireland Ancient East destinations and today's funding announcement is a real boost of confidence for the area,” he said.
Cork South West Deputy Christopher O’Sullivan said the new facilities in Garrylucas would make nearby Kinsale even more attractive to visitors.
"I’ve said time and time again that Ireland and Cork in particular can be a capital of outdoor activities. This is a good start,” Mr O’’Sullivan said. “Garrylucas is such a popular spot with kite-surfers, surfers and kayakers. It will add to what is already a great and safe beach location, not far from Kinsale.
“Kinsale is already a thriving tourist destination, and this will add to its offering.”