Filed under: Local News |

Cork County Council attraction Spike Island has been crowned ‘Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction’ at the World Travel Awards 2017. The island beat an extremely competitive field to scoop the award at a ceremony in Saint Petersburg, Russia on Saturday 30th September. The 9 strong shortlist for the award included the Eiffel tower, Buckingham Palace, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and the Colosseum of Rome.

The islands success makes it an unprecedented 3 in a row for Ireland, following victory for Titanic Belfast in 2016 and the Guinness Storehouse in 2015. Further development of the islands attractions and the addition of extra ferry services are now planned, to meet the rising demand from both international and domestic visitors.

Mayor of County Cork Declan Hurley was in attendance at the event and he expressed his delight at the award. “The redevelopment of the island has been carried out to a very high standard with several visitor attractions added, as well as a cafe and island walkways”. “Cork County Council and Failte Ireland showed significant courage and invention in redeveloping the island, and that courage is now paying dividends”. “This award serves to cement the islands position as the jewel in the crown of Cork and Ireland’s tourism”.

The award caps off an extraordinary 12 months for the island attraction which was used as a prison as recently as 2004. Responsibility for the island was handed over to Cork County Council in 2010 and a masterplan was developed that saw over 6 Million Euro invested by Cork County Council and Failte Ireland. The island reopened in June 2016 and it has welcomed over 45000 visitors in its first full year. It has also become the number one recommended thing to do in Cork on Tripadvisor, overtaking long term number one Fota Wildlife Park.

Also in attendance at the event were company directors Declan Daly and David Keane, as well as island Manager John Crotty who accepted the award on behalf of Spike Island Development Company. Mr Crotty thanked Cork County Council, Failte Ireland and all the staff and visitors to the island, as he attributed the islands success to its extensive history and the hard work of all the staff on the island. “Uniquely the island has 1300 years of extensive Irish history, including a 6th century monastery, a 24 acre Fortress and the largest prison in the world in the 1850’s. This rich history is retold by the best storytellers in the world who are truly passionate about what they do”.

The island will now go forward to represent Europe at the Grand World Final to be held on 10th December at Phu Quoc, Vietnam. Reached by ferry from Kennedy pier Cobh the island will continue to operate boats on weekends in October, as well as offering its popular ‘After Dark’ evening tours throughout the winter.