Filed under: Local News |

Spike Island will represent Cork at the Worlds Travel awards 2017 as it competes for the title of ‘Europe’s leading tourist attraction’ in St Petersburg, Russia, this coming Saturday 30th September.

Cork County Council attraction Spike Island will be representing Cork and Ireland at the upcoming World Travel Awards, as the island attraction competes for the title of ‘Europe’s leading tourist attraction 2017’. The islands nomination was announced earlier this year as it became the first ever Irish attractions outside of the capitals to be nominated, following victory for the Guinness Store house in 2015 and Titanic Belfast in 2016. With the voting now closed the winner is set to be announced at a ceremony in the Russian museum of Ethnography in St Petersburg, Russia on 30th September.

The island faces some seriously stiff competition from established names like the Eiffel tower, Buckingham Palace, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and the Colosseum of Rome among the 9 nominees shortlisted. But Island Manager John Crotty is confident the island can take home the crown. “Votes from the public and those working in the travel industry form a large part of the winner selection process, and we ran a very competitive campaign over the last 6 months”. “The island also became the number one thing to do in Cork on Tripadvisor recently, overtaking established attractions like Fota Wildlife park, so we are optimistic about our chances”.

The island opened to the public in June 2016 following 6 million Euro of investment by Cork County Council and Failte Ireland, and it is set to welcome over 40000 visitors in its first full year. It is hoped to eventually grow visitor numbers to over 100.000 a year as more attractions are developed and the island is further utilized. The option of a second ferry is being investigated as the island looks to meet growing demand from international visitors and tour companies, as the island capitalizes on its strong links with the UK, US and Australian markets, to name a few.

The success comes as no surprise to Mayor of County Cork Declan Hurley, who will be in attendance at the event. “There really is no place like Spike Island in the country, if not the world”. “The island is often called ‘Ireland’s Alcatraz’ as it was used as an island prison on 4 separate occasions, and it was home to the world’s largest prison in the 1850’s”. “But it has also seen a 6th century monastery, a 24 acre Fortress that held both British and Irish military and there have been centuries of island homes. The island has a rich variety of Irish history and heritage that appeals to visitors, and it is well placed to become an iconic visitor attraction”.

A victory for the island would make it an unprecedented 3 in a row for Ireland, following victory for Titanic Belfast in 2016 and the Guinnes Storehouse in 2015. Cork County Council and Failte Ireland will be hoping for a victory that could provide a real boost to the regions tourism, in the face of uncertainty about the impact of the Brexit process.