A Message To Our Members

Dear Members

In our weekly ezine of March 14th we detailed to you our comprehensive submission to Cork City Council. One proposal which was agreed at our AGM asked for a flexi 2 hours free parking initiative commencing at 10am in the North Main Street & Paul Street Car Parks running from Monday to Sunday inclusive, for a period of six months. It was acknowledged that a number of different parking promotions have been running since August 2018, the most recent of which ended in mid-February this year. We also asked that the Park & Ride service be free to users on Saturdays during the same six month period. Additionally, we have asked that the Park & Ride service be extended to include Sundays.


Cork City Councils response:

That this proposal would waive a huge proportion of total car park income and cost circa €2.3m. It would be very difficult for Council to raise replacement funds or agree compensatory cuts. However, they have agreed to engage with us to run seasonal or specific parking promotions and will work with the CBA to identify opportunities that can be delivered in partnership with the business community.


This was a deeply disappointing response but we will continue look for meaningful initiatives that incentivise our customer to visit our city. With that in mind we have had a productive meeting with one of the major private Car Park operators and we will update you on this initiative next week which will give you the business the opportunity to reward your customer by reducing their parking costs throughout the year. At a cost bespoke to your business type.




We are looking for a dedicated fund from Cork City Council to provide ongoing marketing of the city centre. This should involve a proactive marketing strategy as opposed to responding to issues as they occur.


Cork City Council's response: 

That the Council continues to support various marketing initiatives for the city centre. This includes development and expansion of festivals and the implementation of promotional campaigns aimed at increasing footfall in the city centre through its city centre fund and other supports. The have offered to contribute an additional €100,000 specifically for city centre marketing provided it was matched by the local business community.




We have stressed that it is essential as a city we accurately measure what we do, especially in relation to city centre footfall. If we don't measure, we don't know! This is a critical piece of infrastructure and we are seeking a city wide system that, 365 days a year, measures activity in all our key streets. This is a fundamental tool that every city needs to assess how it is performing.


Cork City Councils response:

They have advised that the have installed six counters at three locations on St Patrick Street as part of the CCMS and have agreed to work with us to explore how this can be expanded to further locations throughout the city.




We asked Cork City Council to actively promote the Park by Phone facility by offering an attractive once-off free signing up offer of €10 credit to all new customers. Cork City Council should be targeting a 50% usage of this system which is currently in the low 20% bracket.


Cork City Councils response:

They have confirmed that the usage rate is increasing but they did not supply details. They agree with our contention that we should be targeting a 50% usage rate. They have reviewed the costs of our proposal and believe they have a more efficient and effective method of promoting the system and would like to work with us to develop this further. Again they did not supply details at this point.




We want to see the introduction of Parking Meters with a card/phone payment option in strategic locations across the city. This is again a critical piece of infrastructure on how we make parking in our city easier to use for locals and tourists alike. Once these options are up and running and have achieved a critical mass we should consider phasing out the disc parking system. 


Cork City Councils response

This was previously assessed as costing circa € 600,000 per annum. In addition, their assessment concluded that the provision of meters with no cash option will reduce cost only marginally and will not yield a return on investment.


- We fundamentally disagree with the suggested costings and contend this should be principally be about making the customer (local or tourist) experience better and easier and we are adamant it would be revenue increasing.




We have asked Cork City Council to fast track the much needed improvements to Paul Street and North Main Street Car Parks and provide us with a date when these works are due to start.


Cork City Councils response:

They agree with our assessment of these Car Parks. Council is now considering tenders for the appointment of consultants. They also confirmed funding has been assigned to progress the initial prioritised works on a phased basis.




We have asked to have the “Living Over the Shop Scheme” in the city be re-introduced as this gives tax/rates incentives to premises owners who renovate disused spaces on upper floors for housing. This initiative has many benefits from providing additional housing to increasing the number of people living in the city which is good for business. It also could provide much needed revenue for hard pressed business owners from rental income.


Cork City Council hosted a day seminar on how to tackle the problem of urban vacancy; which the CBA attended.

Date: Thursday 21st March

Time: 9.45am to 5pm

Venue: Nano Nagle Place, Douglas Street, Cork


The ‘Unlocking Upstairs’ event which was focused on tackling upstairs vacancy and was aimed at building owners, architects, engineers, developers, planners and anyone with an interest in how we can better utilise upper floors and vacant spaces.

More info available HERE.


Cork City Councils response:

Was essentially to confirm that they would be holding the above event and was committed to assessing how the challenges of bringing life to the upper levels of city centre buildings could be overcome. It will also continue to run the Living City initiative which has significant tax incentives for building owners.




We asked that they make the Commercial Rates Payment Incentive Scheme more attractive for businesses. Increase the qualifying rate base from €4000 to €5000, increase the grant from 3% to 10%. Extend out the grant to ratepayers who are in arrears provided they sign up to an agreed payment plan.


Cork City Councils response:

They noted our proposals and advised that 57% of ratepayers qualify for the current scheme (But the did not supply data on the take up percentage of the scheme). They advised that the current scheme allows for those who have paid the value of two years to access the scheme. The changes we proposed can be considered in the context of the next budgetary process for the 2020 budget which is a reserved function for the elected members.




Introduce a capped new business start-up rate incentive scheme of 50% off rates year 1; 25% off rates year 2.


Cork City Councils response:

While in principle a good idea the definition of a new business could cause issues (how?) and the scheme could be open to unintended consequences (what?). We received no details to explain their concerns here.




Offer incentives to owners who volunteer vacant properties for temporary use.


Cork City Councils response:

Advised that there is currently an artist's exemption in place for landlords who offer their premises to qualifying artists. In addition, if a landlord offers a vacant property to a not for profit entity, Cork City Council generally writes off rates.




There must be stronger action on derelict sites. We welcome the change which will mean the 3% annual levy on the market value of the property increases to 7% of the market value from 2020.


Cork City Councils response:

That they have placed considerable resources in tackling dereliction in recent times. It has established a dedicated derelict sites unit and there are now over 100 buildings and sites on the derelict sites register. They have advised they are actively working with building and site owners to progress these sites.




Complete a full review of Cork City Centre Retail Strategy. This must be a bottom up review and have full and active participation by all parties. All businesses must be given the opportunity to have their say in the future retail blueprint for Cork City. Clear time-lines must be agreed on completion of the review and for its introduction. We also must assess the current retail offer in the city and how we can work collaboratively to attract key brands to the city centre.


Cork City Councils response:

That the retail strategy will be reviewed in the context of the development of the upcoming City Development Plan and have committed to engaging fully with the Cork Business Association and other stakeholders in this regards.




Introduce free city centre Wi-Fi (that works!).


Cork City Councils response:

That they currently provide free wifi in public spaces such as Bishop Lucey Park, Fitzgeralds Park and in front of Cork City Library. They have advised that they endeavouring to expand this into other public spaces without compromising the activities of commercial operators.




Improve directional signage in the city especially for tourists.


Cork City Councils response:

They are currently engaging with Failte Ireland to progress a wayfinding scheme funding application.




Work with businesses to improve black spots with sponsored initiatives such as area clean-ups and planting. Maximize the take up of the New Placemaking Fund as proposed by Cork City Council.


Cork City Councils response: 

That they regularly engage with businesses and community groups at a street or neighbourhood level to enhance black spots and will continue to do so. There have been significant amount of applications for the placemaking fund and successful applicants are being notified.




Provide an ongoing city centre street cleaning regime that must be published by Cork City Council and made available to businesses. A deep street cleaning programme schedule must also be agreed and made available to businesses. There needs to be better use of more modern cleaning methods and machinery to clean and remove litter from our streets.


Cork City Councils response:

That they would continue to engage with the CBA in this regard.




However we subsequently we received the following detail:

At present the following streets are on the Cork City Centre Street Cleaning daily cleaning regime:


  • Washington Street
  • Mardyke Walk
  • Western Road
  • Lancaster Quay
  • Woods Alley
  • Woods Street
  • Prospect Row
  • Lynches Street
  • Grenville Place
  • Bachelors Quay
  • Francis Street
  • Millerd Street
  • Devonshire Street
  • Coach Street
  • Devon Street
  • Moore Street
  • Grattan Street
  • Thomas Street
  • Peters Street
  • Sheares Street
  • Little Hanover
  • Gravel Lane
  • James Street
  • Anne Street
  • Fenns Quay
  • Court House Street
  • Hanover Street
  • Wandesford Street
  • Liberty Street
  • Cross Street
  • Little Cross Street
  • Adelaide Street
  • Liberty Street
  • North Main Street
  • Kyrls Quay
  • Kyrls Street
  • Coal Quay
  • Coachlanders Six Lane
  • Vaundelours Lane
  • Corn Market Street
  • Cook Pit Lane
  • Portneys Lane
  • Castle Street
  • Saint Augustine Street
  • Paul Street
  • Grand Parade
  • South Mall
  • St Pauls Avenue
  • Dalton Avenue
  • Pauls Lane
  • Half Moon Street
  • Parliament Street
  • Grafton Street
  • Princes Street
  • Marlboro Street
  • Cook Street
  • Morgan Street
  • Pembroke Street
  • Oliver Plunkett Street
  • Market Street
  • Market Lane
  • Elbow Street
  • Morgans Street
  • Winthrop Street
  • Winthrop Lane
  • Caroline Street
  • Phoenix Street
  • Crane Lane
  • Smith Street
  • Beasley Street
  • Parliament Bridge
  • Father Matthews Quay
  • Straid an athar maithu
  • Fitton Street
  • Keefe Street
  • Catherine Street
  • Morrisons Quay
  • Mutton Lane
  • Patrick Street
  • Careys Lane
  • French Church Street
  • Academy Street
  • Opera Lane
  • Bowling Green Street
  • William Street
  • Perry Street
  • Draw Bridge Street
  • Emmett Place

These street area swept approx 2-3 times daily. A street cleaning service is provided between 6am to 10pm Monday to Saturday and 7am - 7pm on a Sunday (please note that a reduced service is provided between 11am and 7pm on Sundays and only the street between the quays are serviced between 6pm and 10pm in the evenings).



In regards to deep cleaning, please note the following:


  • The Aquazzura street cleaning machine covers Patrick Street, Oliver Plunkett Street & Grand Parade on a daily basis between 6am and 2pm (rotated as required).
  • Pressure washing commenced in mid March serving the service strips on Patrick Street, Oliver Plunkett Street and Grand Parade. Patrick Street has just been completed and we have moved onto Oliver Plunkett Street.
  • A gum removal tender for Patrick Street, Oliver Plunkett Street and Grand Parade will be prepared soon with the works anticipated to be carried out in Summer 2019.




Flood Defences for Cork

We urgently want to see the commencement of work on Cork’s Flood Defence Scheme by the OPW. We acknowledge that significant improvements have been brought about by the active engagement of many stakeholders. The end result is a more subtle and less extrusive scheme than that which was originally proposed. It is also important to clarify that back in 2014 the CBA publicly called for a tidal barrier for Cork as one of the options to protect the city from flooding. However, our information is that the cost of such a scheme is way beyond the budget available to Cork or even available to the national budget for flood defence works at the moment.However if funding were available for such a scheme our position is the same as 2014 when we first proposed this option for Cork.


In the interim we cant continue to argue and sit on our hands and do nothing we need to commence local defence work as soon as practicable.


Cork City Councils response:

Cork City Council continues to work with the OPW to ensure that this scheme is progressed in a way that is sympathetic to the city, the quays, the environment, the landscape and the general amenity of the River Lee.




​In our original communication we acknowledged that some of our proposals would require additional funding but we stressed that is not a reason for inaction. However, it is also not a reason to raise commercial rates to deliver on these initiatives which is why we are advocating that Cork City Council borrow the necessary funds to implement these and many other critical infrastructure projects that are currently on hold. We understand the Cork County Council have recently agreed a loan of € 130 million for similar projects in the County and we see no reason why Cork City Council could not adopt the same innovative approach.


Cork City Council response: 

They are seeking to optimise the impact of investment in the city. To that extent, Cork City Council has been successful in attracting significant funds from various central government sources such as the DUCGS scheme, the LIHAF fund, Urban Regeneration Fund, the NTA & TII. They will continue to maximise these whenever possible as they respond to the changing needs of the city.




As we previously advised regarding the Events Centre, the Cork Business Association (CBA) and Cork branches of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF), Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) and Restaurant Association of Ireland (RAI) wrote to Ann Doherty CEO of Cork City Council on two occasions to ascertain where this project is. We called on her to provide clarification and to engage in meaningful communication on the long-awaited Cork Events Centre. We need clarity to understand where the delays are. It is now more than four years since the State funding was sanctioned and more than three years since the sod was turned on the site and businesses need reassurance, once and for all, that the project will come to fruition. We also need timelines to ensure this process does not continue moving at its hitherto slow and stumbling pace.


Since the above communication, the CBA and Cork branches of the IHF, VFI and RAI had separate meetings with Theo Cullinane Head of Bam Construction and Ann Doherty Chief Executive Cork City Council. Our understanding is there will be a statement on the issue in the coming weeks. All businesses and indeed the general Cork public hopes this announcement will finally clear the way for this project to commence. But we have been here before and until we have absolute certainty we have nothing.


There is significant information in this communication but it essential you our members are fully informed on the issues that we represent you our members on. We will now take each issue we have raised examine and evaluate their response and revert to Cork City Council on those issues where we feel they are not delivering what is in the best interest of business in the city. Conversely we will work proactively with Cork City Council on the issues we have an agreed position on. We will as always keep you our members informed of our progress or otherwise.

SeaFest launches its biggest free programme to date

Ireland’s largest free maritime celebration comes to Cork city in June

SeaFest, Ireland’s largest free family-friendly maritime celebration, unveils its exciting 2019 programme today for Cork, with over 100 events taking place from 7 – 9 June. An estimated 100,000 visitors are expected at the Port of Cork in Cork City for SeaFest 2019, with the line-up to include cooking demonstrations from celebrity chefs Neven Maguire and Rory O'Connell and talks from Met Éireann Head of Forecasting Evelyn Cusack and wildlife cameraman, Doug Allan. For full festival details visit www.seafest.ie.

Held in Galway for the past three years, Cork City Council and the Inter-Departmental Marine Coordination Group (MCG) will now present SeaFest from 2019 – 2021. The festival, which acknowledges everything the ocean has to offer, will be a culmination of a weeklong celebration of Ireland’s rich maritime heritage, as the annual Cork Harbour Festival runs from 1 – 9 June.

SeaFest highlights include Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) and Bord Bia free cookery demonstrations from esteemed chefs Rory O'Connell (Ballymaloe Cookery School) and Neven Maguire (MacNean House & Restaurant), along with demos from fishmongers, Pat O’Connell and Hal Dawson. BIM also brings its never-before-seen Clean Oceans’ visitor experience, raising awareness of plastic in our oceans.

Further key events for SeaFest 2019 include Met Éireann Head of Forecasting Evelyn Cusack discussing weather changes and warnings at the Marine Institute marquee. There will also be engaging talks and films inspired by the ocean at Marine Institute’s The Atlantic Theatre. Award-winning wildlife cameraman Doug Allen will discuss his remarkable experiences filming BBC’s  Blue Planet and Ocean Giants. RTÉ documentary Ireland’s Deep Atlantic will also be screened.

Speaking on the launch, Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Mick Finn said:

“SeaFest is a hugely important festival for the country and it’s fitting that it will take place in Cork which has a unique maritime history and association with the sea. That the city’s motto proclaims Cork to be ‘a safe harbour for ships’ speaks for itself.

“There is a great programme of free events lined up for the festival this year — and for the next three years — to ensure that people connect with the river, the harbour and the sea. SeaFest will be at the core of European Maritime Day next year when we will also celebrate 300 years of the Royal Cork Yacht Club... the oldest of its kind in the world. We invite everyone to attend the free, fun events and help focus on keeping our oceans healthy and vibrant.”

There will be free sailing, kayaking, currach and dragon boat trips on the water, with Irish Sailing, Atlantic Sea Kayaking and Meitheal Mara. Tours of the Marine Institute’s research vessel RV Celtic Explorer and the Commissioner of Irish Lights’ ILV Granuaile take place across the weekend. The Defence Forces will provide an equipment and capabilities display.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed said:

“SeaFest is about highlighting the importance and value of our  seas and oceans. After being successfully hosted in Galway for the last three years, it is important that this national maritime festival is enjoyed across the country. I am delighted therefore that it will be presented in Cork city for the next three years from 2019-21, as it continues to grow and evolve and in other coastal locations in the future. With such a fantastic line-up of free and fun events across the three days designed to educate, engage and entertain the whole family, SeaFest 2019 in Cork is set to be a magnificent maritime celebration.”

There will be fun and free activities in the dedicated Kids Zone, along with touch tank displays as part of the Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme. This is the first year for BIM’s interactive aquaculture remote classroom (ARC) at SeaFest, with virtual reality headsets for wearers to experience mussel beds up close. Music Generation Cork City will also be performing on the music stage throughout the event.

The Port of Cork and UCC research centre MaREI will showcase a 3D art exhibition by local fifth class pupils about awareness of marine litter; the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will outline UN Sustainable Development Goals; and there will be water safety advice from RNLI.

SeaFest 2019 is part of Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth, increasing our engagement with the sea. The Our Ocean Wealth Summit will take place in Cork on Sunday, 9 June and Monday, 10 June.

SeaFest is proudly supported by Cork City Council, BIM, Marine Institute, Port of Cork, Cork Harbour Festival, Commissioners of Irish Lights, Defence Forces, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Bord Bia, Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, Pure Cork and by media partners Today FM and RedFM. SeaFest is part funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union under Ireland’s European Maritime & Fisheries Fund Operational Programme for the seafood sector.

To view the full festival programme visit www.seafest.ie. Follow SeaFest on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

65th Cork International Choral Festival will bring 5,000 singers and 50,000 visitors to Cork

Cork’s longest running festival to generate €10 million for the local region

The full programme of events for the 65th Cork International Choral Festival was launched in City Hall last night (Wednesday April 10th) amid a chorus of music and song.


The globally renowned choral festival - Cork’s longest running festival and one of Europe’s most prestigious competitive choral events - takes place from May 1st – 5th 2019 and will bring 5,000 world class singers and 50,000 visitors to the Cork for five days of music and song. The historic Cork choral festival is expected to give an €10 million economic boost to the region.


Throughout the festival, singers from all over Ireland, Europe and beyond will take to the stages and streets of Cork for an extensive programme of national and international competitive trophy, gala concert and non-competitive performances in more than 90 venues across the city, with gala events and competitions centring around Cork’s City Hall.


Selected Irish and international choirs will also participate in a wide range of festival events including fringe concerts and informal public performances, which will see choirs popping up throughout Cork city and county in new and unexpected locations, including Blarney Castle and Gardens, St. Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh and the Methodist Church, Kinsale, during the five festival days.


The 65th Cork International Choral Festival opens on Wednesday May 1st in Cork City Hall with an exquisite Gala Concert celebrating the work of the Finnish composer, Jean Sibelius and Danish composer, Carl Nielsen. The renowned Fleischmann Choir and Cork School of Music (CSM) Symphony Orchestra will be joined on stage by the CSM Junior Children’s Chorus and the CSM Senior Children’s Chorus for a performance of Sibelius’ Symphony No. 1, and Nielsen’s Fynsk Forår and Hymnus Amoris.


Other festival highlights include Helene Stureborg’s Chamber Choir, which returns to Cork from Stockholm - after winning the Fleischmann International Trophy at Cork International Choral Festival in 2016 - for the gala ‘Evocations 2019’ concert in the city’s North Cathedral on Friday May 3rd at 10.30pm.


St. Finbarre’s Cathedral will also reverberate beautifully to the sounds of Chamber Choir Ireland who will give the world premiere performance of street after street alike, the winning composition of the 2019 Seán Ó Riada composition competition, composed by UCC Experimental Music Master’s student, James May. The evening will also see Chamber Choir Ireland perform a mixed programme of medieval and contemporary choral composers entitled ‘Before Bach and After’.


Headline non-competitive act PUST (meaning breath in Norwegian) whose compositions reverberate between Scandinavian folk, jazzy tones and all sorts of worldly and natural sounds, will bring a breath of fresh air to the festival with a gala performance in Cork City Hall on Thursday May 2nd.  Alternatively, the edgy, colourful, Brisbane based community choir, Cheep Trill, will perform in Triskel Christchurch the same day as part of the Fringe Concert series and again in Blarney Castle and Gardens on Friday May 3rd at 2pm as part of the Choral Trail.


Competitions taking place as part of the 65th Cork International Choral Festival include the National Competitions for Schools and National Open Competitions for Chamber Choirs, Ensembles, Mixed Voice, Youth Choirs and the prestigious Ireland’s Choir of the Year competition which will be contested by the highest number of choirs ever this year.


The hotly contested and highly prestigious annual Aloys Fleischmann International Trophy competition takes place on Saturday May 4th, giving audiences the opportunity to hear some of the world’s top amateur choirs competing for one of Europe’s most prestigious choral prizes.


However, musical or not, everyone is invited to get involved, participate in and enjoy the various workshops, events and performances on offer during the festival of song. A series of free concerts and performances will be staged around the city as part of the Fringe Concerts, Choral Trail and Afternoons at the Atrium of the Clayton Hotel, Lapps Quay, with plenty of impromptu night time performances in the hotel’s festival club.


The annual Big Sing also returns to Cork City Hall on Saturday May 4th inviting singers of all ages and levels of experience to form the largest choir of the festival, ensuring that everybody is given the opportunity to use their voice! Last year’s Big Sing brought 600 participants from all backgrounds together and the festival organisers hope to top that number this year under the tutelage of Ciaran Kelly of Ardu Vocal Ensemble, who will treach eager singers of all ages to perform Justin Timberlake’s ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling’ a capella!


Speaking at the programme launch, long-standing festival director, John Fitzpatrick, said:

 “Cork International Choral Festival has built a reputation as one of Europe’s most prestigious choral festivals.  We are very proud of its long tradition, its exciting Gala Concerts and Fringe Concert Series, its interesting Choral Symposium, its diverse, extensive and inclusive outreach programme, and the high level of entries for its competitive and non-competitive performances. We are delighted to welcome so many international and Irish choirs to Cork for what will be an exciting five days of music and song. The festival wouldn’t be possible without the hard work and support of the small team of committed staff, our sponsors, and our wonderful volunteers, and I would like to thank them all in advance for their hard work and dedication to Cork’s longest running festival.”


New festival manager, Elaine FitzGerald added:

“This is my first Cork International Choral Festival as festival manager and I’m very much looking forward to welcoming singers from all over the world to Cork, hearing them perform, and showing them the best that Cork has to offer. We have a packed programme of events throughout the festival and there should certainly be a song for everyone over the May bank holiday weekend, whether you’re interested in sacred church music, jazzy tunes or you just want to hear a fun street chorus, Cork International Choral Festival’s got it all!”


Cork International Choral Festival is supported by the Arts Council, Fáilte Ireland, Cork City Council and Cork County Council, with the Irish Examiner, Evening Echo and Cork’s 96FM as media partners.


Festival Tickets are available for purchase through the online booking system at www.corkchoral.ie.


Special packages are also available in partnership with the Clayton Hotel Cork City to ensure visitors get the best of their journey to Cork while enjoying all the Festival has to offer.

‘Design POP’ – a Citywide Design and Food Festival comes to Cork this May

Recently it was announced that Ireland’s cultural hub, Cork, is to play host to a hybrid festival of food and design from May 17th-19th, 2019. Design POP is set to merge innovative design with local and international food and drink experiences in a collaborative pop up festival with events and exhibits taking place in various iconic locations across the city.

Design Pop

Celebrating talent in both disciplines, Design POP will see six of Ireland’s leading designers working closely with six top local food producers to create bespoke installations that will pop up across Cork city centre for the duration of the festival. The three-day showcase brings together Ireland’s creative community by initiating collaboration through these innovative pavilions. The festival will also engage the public through a program of pop-up events in venues around the city through workshops, showcases, exhibitions, lectures and demonstrations. Design POP will showcase a number of emerging and established designers, creatives and foodies to the public seeking unique contemporary art & design.

Design POP embraces the existing bold aesthetic and character of the chosen locations around Cork city and amplifies them through the specially created pavilions. The weekend’s event program will give artists, creatives, food producers, designers and makers a platform to discuss and showcase their work processes in a weekend that will not only celebrate innovation and creativity but also Cork.

Speaking on the announcement founder of Design POP, architect and Cork native, Amy McKeogh commented, “Given the huge successes that both Milan and Clerkenwell Design week have become, I know a design festival has the ability to engage with the public and establish Cork as a destination for creative talent. I’m really excited to highlight the amazing food and design innovation we have in Ireland and to hopefully inspire the next generation to think boldly.”

The full line-up of designers, food producers and speakers will be announced over the coming weeks. For more information on Design POP, visit www.designpop.ie.



Source: TheTaste.ie 

Michael Magner and family become independent owners of Cork’s 4 Star Vienna Woods Hotel and Villas

Cork hotelier Michael Magner has acquired full ownership of the historic Vienna Woods Hotel, along with his father in law Mr Brian Scully, having bought out the Fitzgerald family, for an undisclosed sum.

Michael Magner purchased the hotel in 2006 in partnership with The Fitzgerald family, owners of the four-star Fitzgerald’s Woodlands House Hotel & Spa in Adare, Co. Limerick.

Together they have, over the years, completely restored the 18th century property back to its former glory with a €5 million investment, adding on a luxury ballroom and eight modern self-catering villas, bringing the total bedrooms on site to 77.

Last year, the hotel also upgraded all guest rooms and suites in the property and invested in meeting spaces and technology to meet the hotel’s growing demand as a business destination for meetings, incentives, conferences and events.

A further investment of €500k will be made by Mr Magner and Mr Scully following the acquisition over the coming season to deliver a refurbished foyer, conference suites, occasion and dining space.

Commenting on the transaction, Michael Magner said:

“Since moving to Cork in 2006 it has become my home, I suppose the fact my mother is a native of Meelin in North Cork, the attraction of Cork was well and truly in my blood.”

Michael said he is very grateful to the Fitzgerald family for the opportunities they have given and shared with him, all of which helped pave the way to make his dream of owning his own family hotel a possibility.

“The Fitzgerald’s family and I would also like to pay tribute to the team at Vienna Woods for their dedication and commitment to making each guest’s stay as enjoyable as possible. I look forward to continuing to work with this fantastic team as we embark on a new journey together,” he said.

Michael and his wife Annette have three children, Eric (20) studying hotel management, Daniel (6) and Charlie (3) and, in a changing hotel landscape in Ireland, to have an independent, family owned and run hotel is a rare and marvellous thing.

“Our family acquisition will ensure this passion for personal, warm Irish hospitality will continue for future generations to come and we look forward to greeting all our loyal and future guests who visit the hotel”.

Wishing Mr Magner and his family every future success, Mary Fitzgerald, from Fitzgerald’s Woodlands Hotel & Spa, said:

“Michael began his career in hospitality with us and we were delighted to partner with him on the purchase of the Vienna Woods Hotel in 2006.  We have worked closely together over the subsequent years in growing a successful business and have together invested in the fabric of the building. The acquisition of Vienna Woods Hotel is a natural progression for Michael and we wish him the very best of luck.”

Fitzgerald’s Vienna Woods Hotel will be renamed as ‘Cork’s Vienna Woods Country House’. Sitting on 22 acres of mature grounds, the historic country house which was once the home of the famous Crawford brewing family, is one of Cork’s busiest wedding and occasion venues, located just ten minutes’ drive from Cork City centre.

It is a member of Guaranteed Irish brand and is a Manor House property within Original Irish Hotels, an exclusive collection of independently owned Irish hotels.

Existing bookings at the Vienna Woods Hotel are unaffected by the change in ownership. All vouchers issued by Fitzgerald’s Woodlands House Hotel & Spa for Fitzgerald’s Vienna Woods Hotel and all vouchers issued by Fitzgerald’s Vienna Woods Hotel for Fitzgerald’s Woodlands House Hotel & Spa will be honoured until the 31st December.

Seafest & Cork Harbour Festival Set The Scene For Ireland’s Biggest Maritime Celebration This June

SeaFest and Cork Harbour Festival are coming together for Ireland’s biggest maritime celebration, which will take place in Cork this June. Cork City Council and the Inter-Departmental Marine Coordination Group (MCG) present SeaFest, a national free and family friendly maritime festival, at the Port of Cork on 7th - 9th June.

This will be the culmination of a weeklong celebration of Ireland’s rich maritime heritage, as the annual Cork Harbour Festival runs from 1st – 9th June, with over 70 events for all to enjoy.

The programmes of both festivals will be announced in the coming weeks.

For more see seafest.ie and corkharbourfestival.com.


Having been held in Galway for the past three years, Cork City Council and MCG — made up of government departments with responsibility for marine matters —  will now present SeaFest from 2019 – 2021. More than 100,000 are expected to attend the national annual festival on Cork city’s quays, celebrating what the ocean has to offer.

Speaking on today’s announcement, Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Mick Finn said:

“We are delighted that Cork city will enjoy two festivals this June, with nine action-packed days of activities focused on the water. While Cork Harbour Festival will celebrate Cork’s rich maritime heritage, SeaFest will acknowledge the value of Ireland’s oceans and encourage national engagement with our seas. These two festivals will be a spectacular showcase for both locals and visitors alike, with an amazing variety of family-focused events, exhibits, talks, demonstrations, and workshops soon to be announced.”

Cork Harbour Festival Manager Joya Kuin added:

“June will be a fantastic celebration of all things maritime, with Cork Harbour Festival returning with another jam-packed programme and SeaFest docking at the city’s quayside for the next three years. The collaboration of the two festivals will highlight to a local, national and international audience our rich maritime culture and how easily it can be accessed for all to enjoy.”

SeaFest is part funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union under Ireland’s European Maritime & Fisheries Fund Operational Programme for the seafood sector.

Keep Cork Meeting 2019

Businesses encouraged to think of Cork first for their next corporate event

Cork Convention Bureau launch annual 'Keep Cork Meeting' event


Cork Convention Bureau (CCB) will host its 7th annual business tourism showcase, Keep Cork Meeting, at Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Thursday 11th April from 7.30am to 12 noon.  The event is ideal for anyone involved in organising events and meetings in Cork.


Keep Cork Meeting, which is Ireland’s longest running meetings and events expo, aims to encourage more conferences, meetings and events in Cork, and gives hotels and other tourism service providers locally the opportunity to showcase their offering to the corporate market.

There will be over 40 exhibitors showcasing the very best of Cork’s business tourism offering, including accommodation options, unique Cork venues, food and drink options, activities and interactive experiences, from spa treatments to historical venues, cooking and tours.

Attendees will be also be given the opportunity to receive advice from event management experts in attendance and have one to one clinics with the Cork Convention Bureau team members about their supports.

Over 150 conference and event organisers across all sectors will attend, in addition to Conference/Event Ambassadors, who have already secured international events for Cork from 2019 up to 2023.

A buffet breakfast will be served and lots of prizes and goodies will be on offer for everyone in attendance.

Cork Convention Bureau aims to grow conference and business tourism by 8% annually to €14m, with each business delegate valued at €1600.  “The business tourist contributes three times more to the local economy than the leisure tourist and many business tourists are now beginning to extend their stay by 2-4 days, which offers a huge opportunity for growth”, according to Evelyn O Sullivan, Manager at Cork Convention Bureau.


“The biggest growth opportunities are in areas like Agri and Food, Space, Neo Natal, and Maritime, and we are here to support anyone wishing to bring a conference to the Cork region.  We can help with practical supports and free of charge impartial advice to ensure the smooth running and success of your event.  We also hope that our event inspires local companies to think of Cork first when planning their next corporate event.”

The local hotel sector is also committed to enhancing its offering for business tourism. A recent survey of Cork hoteliers, conducted by the Cork branch of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF), has shown that more than €11.5m was spent on renovations and improvements to hotels in the region in 2018, with more than 80% investing in capital expenditure, underlining their commitment to Cork’s conference and meetings industry. Established in 2007, Cork Convention Bureau is a public-private partnership that promotes the Cork region as a destination for business tourism (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) and generates opportunities for people to come to Cork.  Cork Convention Bureau is part of Visit Cork, which also promotes leisure tourism through the Pure Cork brand. www.corkconventionbureau.com

 If you wish to organise an event or conference in Cork, and would benefit from attending #KeepCorkMeeting, or if you would like to exhibit at the event, please contact anne.cahill@corkconventionbureau.com or register on https://corkconventionbureau.clr.events