Let the countdown begin!

Cork Christmas Lights to be switched on this Sunday November 18th

Organised by Cork City Council, the countdown to Christmas has truly begun with the announcement that the switching on of the Cork City Christmas Lights will take place on Patrick’s Street this Sunday November 18th.  The Christmas Lights will be switched on by the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Mick Finn and there is a rumored appearance of Santa!


The Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Mick Finn said,


“Cork’s Christmas starts here! The Switching on of the Christmas City Lights officially marks the start of the countdown to Christmas in Cork. The Switch on will take place at approximately 7.15pm and I would encourage people to come into the city to experience this wonderful free family festive event. I would also encourage people to shop local for Christmas and help keep jobs and shops alive in Cork.”

Beginning at 6.30pm on Patrick’s Street, the Switch on Party will be hosted by KC and Ros Browne from Cork’s 96FM.


Ireland’s leading pop music school, The Academy of Popular Music will perform a selection of much-loved Christmas songs including All I want for Christmas, Merry Christmas Everyone and Fairytale of New York. Students from The Academy of Popular Music, have previously performed on the Late Late Toy Show, the Voice of Ireland, and Cork’s Got Talent.


They will be joined on stage by the Cork Deaf Choir who will sign and sing a selection of Christmas Songs, and they invite everyone to ‘Sign Along’ by learning the chorus of Santa Claus is Coming to Town which you can find  here: https://youtu.be/UfQOqkk5jPU or by searching ‘Irish sign language santa’.


Throughout the evening ISL Irish Sign Language Services will be on offer, and patrons with additional mobility needs will be accommodated close to the stage.


Due to the large volume of people who annually attend the Switching on of the Christmas Lights, members of the public are being asked to give themselves plenty of time to come into Cork City on Sunday. Normal Sunday parking restrictions will apply and traffic wardens will be on duty. Some additional road closures and lane restrictions will be in place from 12 noon to 10pm on the day, so drivers are advised to check the website. Park and Ride will operate on a Monday to Friday frequency from 11am-8.30pm from Black Ash to Lapps Quay, and with the last Bus leaving the City Centre at 8.10pm.


See www.corkchristmascelebration.ie for details on parking in the city.

The switching on of the Christmas Lights will kick start the city’s seasonal celebrations and a big promotional drive by Cork City Council and the Cork Business Association to encourage people to come into the city centre and to shop locally in the lead up to Christmas.


Cork will be transformed into a festive wonderland with the opening of GLOW on Friday November 30th which will run for four weekends in the build up to Christmas. Cork’s 96FM and C103 and the Evening Echo are the media sponsors of GLOW 2018.


For further information contact Eimear O’Brien PR

086 8900364/eimear@eimearobrienpr.ie

Incredible Jazz Weekend In Cork

Corks 2018 Guinness Jazz Festival certainly hit new heights this Bank Holiday Week End. From the ‘Dia De Los Muertos’ (Day of the Dead) Jazz Parade to launch the Festival on Thursday 25th to the last gigs on Bank Holiday Monday. This must go down as one of the most successful events in its 41 year history! Attracting record crowds of over 40,000 to the city who fully enjoyed the carnival like atmosphere and the good weather also helped enormously.

From a CBA perspective we would like to congratulate all involved, especially the title sponsor Guinness (Diageo) who have supported this festival since the 1980’s. Aside from the commercial benefit the Jazz Festival brings to business in the city, one couldn’t put a value on the positive marketing such an event generates.

Congratulations also to the new Festival Director Sinead Dunphy who, in her first year in the role, has brought a new vision to the event. Typical of Sinead she is already planning for next year to make the 2019 festival even bigger and better!

A special nod to Executive Committee member Niamh Murphy and her team for their work behind the scenes promoting the festival and to everyone at The Metropole for carrying on the vision created by Jim Mountjoy 41 years ago.

Well done to everyone who worked tirelessly across the city and county this bank holiday weekend to make it one of the most memorable Guinness Cork Jazz Festival’s to date.


CBA Urges Government to retain 9% VAT rate in the Hospitality & Services Sector

The CBA fully supports the stance taken by RAI cheif executive Adrian Cummins when he outlined that, “Brexit is the hospitality industry’s most immediate threat in 2018 and that danger will follow into 2019. We must retain measures such as the 9% VAT rate to allow businesses remain competitive while we continue to measure the potential damage that Brexit could introduce to the industry.”

To retain the growth that we have seen specifically in the Cork region within  the Tourism / Hospitality and Services sectors, it is essential that the VAT rate of 9% is retained until 2022. It is also important to acknowledge since the VAT cut, 54,400 jobs have been created in these sectors nationally. Consequently it is imperative that the reduced VAT rate is kept in place until 2022 in order for the Irish economy to remain competitive.

We must not eaisly forget when the economy went into decline, restaurants & service providers endured falling numbers , rising prices and great financial uncertainty, with many having to close their businesses. Money generated by this reduced VAT rate, however, has kick-started a reversal of fortunes. Since the VAT cut, employment in the Restaurant Tourism &  Services sector increased by approximately 54,400 direct jobs with an additional 25,024 indirect jobs which gives a total employment increase of 79,424. This growth will continue if VAT at 9% remains in effect.”

Commenting Lawrence Owens CEO of the Cork Business Association said ” Many of our members operate in the sector that will be seriously impacted by any upward change in the 9% VAT rate. We urge the Government not alone to heed the significant warnings from the sector but to factor in the uncertainty that Brexit poses to the industry. In essence we would simply say if it ain’t broke don’t fixit”



Engaging with our Youth – The Retail Experience in Cork City

The Cork Business Association and Cork City Council have come together with St Angela’s College to work on an exciting new project for the present academic year. With the growth of online shopping ever increasing there is an inevitable knock on effect on our local retailers in Cork City centre. Cork Business Association and Cork City Council are aware of this potential threat to local business, and with the help of Ms Muireann Curtin of St Angela’s College, they have designed a Project Brief for the current transition year students attending St Angela’s College.

The general objective of this project is to “raise questions about the spending habits of young people in Cork City and promote the development of small local retailers”. This project is being guided by Ms Julia Campi from Sao Paulo who has worked on similar projects back in her home country of Brazil. This is a very practical live project that will greatly benefit both the transition year students and local retailers alike. The project is broken down into four stages and students will work over the course of the academic year to identify what types of products are available in Cork City, how the youth in Cork consume these products and what the overall retail experience is like for our younger generations shopping in Cork City. The students will then be given the challenge of identifying the global retailers who are continuously innovating and positively reaching the youth through various different channels and seeing how they can apply their findings on a local scale.


Philip Gillivan, President of the Cork Business Association, said,

“This is a fantastic new project, the first of its kind in Cork City and possibly even the whole country. I firmly believe we can learn a lot from these students and readjust our business models to reach this target market. Students of this age are very impressionable and if we don’t attempt to curb their spending habits now they will continue to shop online, to the detriment of our local small retailers.”

The CBA and Cork City Council launched this project today, Thursday 13th September, and met with over one hundred transition year students who will be taking part.

“The students are very eager and excited to take part in this new project with ideas already flying around the room. If we fail to listen to their needs and concerns now, we will lose them as they progress in life and the concept of shopping local will be alien to them. Cork City has so much to offer with an eclectic mix of products and services available on our doorstep and we look forward to working alongside these students and hearing their ideas on how we can improve their overall retail experience in Cork.”, commented Lawrence Owens, CEO of the Cork Business Association.


“We need to start a conversation between these transition year students, their generation, and the business community in Cork City. It’s a two way street – how the businesses can learn what the transition year students want regarding online shopping and how the students can learn the impact of buying everything solely online and how that will affect the vibrancy of the city going forward, their city. It’s a two-way conversation; the students learn the benefits of spending in the local economy and the business community learning that they need to be able to adapt and change to attract the next generation of shoppers to their shops, whether it be online or instore.”

“This is the first year this project will be rolled out with St Angela’s College however we hope to open this up to all Cork schools next year as we feel it’s a great opportunity for students to really interact and engage with the retail sector in Cork for mutual benefit.”, commented Mr Gillivan.


Paul McGuirk, Cork City Coordinator, said of this new live project,

“We are delighted to partner with the Cork Business Association on this exciting and innovative project which has a dual capacity to assist the transition year students at St Angela’s College in their learning process and will aid the Cork City retailers in their ability to adapt and change with the evolving consumer trends”.

Cork Pubs Champion at the Bar of the Year Awards 2018

Celebrations are well and truly in order ‘cross the bridge this week as The Shelbourne Bar and Cask bring home a total of four awards from the Bar of the Year Awards 2018.


On Monday 20th of August, the Bar of the Year awards gala was held in the Clayton Hotel Burlington Road, Dublin and was hosted by Newstalk’s Tom Dunne. It was a joyous evening for the Rebel County with seven awards coming Leeside.


The Shelbourne Bar was crowned Whiskey Bar of the Year on the night. Home to over 300 Irish whiskey bottlings, The Shelbourne Bar boasts a range of new releases, vintage bottlings and everything in between. The bar prides itself on its extensive Irish whiskey offering, which they believe to be the largest in Cork City and thus the team was truly honoured to be awarded with the prestigious title of Whiskey Bar of the Year Award 2018.


“We are always striving to maintain the largest and best collection of Irish whiskey in Cork so we were overjoyed to be acknowledged at the Bar of the Year Awards 2018!”

Scooping the coveted “Bar of the Year 2018” award was none other than Cask. With hundreds of bars across the country eager to claim the title, Cask came out on top! This is an incredible achievement for a bar than opened just over a year and a half ago. The judges deemed the cocktail bar to be outstanding across all aspects, with particular accreditation to its unique design.


But it didn’t stop there; Cask was also crowned Cocktail Bar of the Year and Contemporary Bar of the Year bringing their title tally to three!


Andy Ferreira, manager of Cask, said, “I’m thrilled for everyone involved in Cask. We’re incredibly passionate about what we do and winning these awards is reward for a lot of hard work. Cork city is really buzzing at the moment; there’s such a great variety of places to eat and drink and the service you get is so genuine and unpretentious. Winning Cocktail Bar of the Year for a second year running is an amazing feeling. When you do four drinks’ menus a year and really immerse yourself in seasonality, it’s an incredibly rewarding way to develop drinks and menus. We keep pushing ourselves to be better with every menu.”


And last but certainly not least The Oyster Tavern were crowned City Bar of the Year, a title that was well and truly deserved! They paid a special thanks to their loyal customers and hardworking staff whom made it all possible.


A special nod to the Franciscan Well Brew Pub upon winning Tourist Bar of the Year and Traford Murphy of Ballymaloe House was crowned the Bushmills Cocktail Bartender of the Year on the night.

Celebrate the rich and vibrant history of Cork’s landmark buildings at the 14th annual Cork Heritage Open Day

On Saturday August 18th, take a step back in time, and immerse yourself in the history of some of Cork’s most historical buildings. From steps and steeples, to customs and commerce, Cork Heritage Open Day invites the public to explore buildings, many not usually accessible to the general public, and learn more about our City’s stories and traditions.

“If the walls of Cork City’s landmark buildings could talk, they’d share a rich and vibrant history” said Lord Mayor of Cork City, Mick Finn.  “No matter where you walk in Cork, the past is close beneath our feet. It is important to retain what we can of our past yet not be totally constrained by it as previous generations would attest: progress needs to be conscious of heritage.  Cork Heritage Open Day is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our built heritage and ensure that the stories of our city’s past are preserved for future generations to enjoy.”

Five themed, self-guided walking routes will lead visitors through the city on Cork Heritage Open Day which boasts a jam-packed catalogue of events for everyone from the young, to the young at heart.  Access to all 40 buildings is free of charge on Saturday, August 18th, but booking is required for a number of tours at some of the most popular venues.

Visitors to North Main Street will be transported back to the swinging 60s as traders and residents celebrate Cork Heritage Open Day with vintage twist, with on-street entertainment throughout the day; while St Peter’s will host a series of talks from Turtle Bunbury and the Jameson Distillery, among others.

Past pupils of St Angela’s College on Patrick’s Hill, and the former Model School, now the newly refurbished Courthouse on Anglesea Street, can look forward to guided tours of their old schools;  while Gaeilgeoiri can enjoy a special tour as gaeilge of Elizabeth Fort at 11am.

This year, a social competition invites members of the public to record their own memories of Cork Heritage Open Day, snap their favourite city centre plaque, street or bridge sign, and tag #CorkHeritage to be in with a chance to win a midweek night for two and dinner thanks to the Imperial Hotel.  Children can also get in on the action, and win a family pass to the Everyman Panto Cinderella in the annual Evening Echo Colouring Competition.


Launch of Cork Heritage Open Day 2018

Picture: Cllr. Thomas Moloney, Chief Executive Ann Doherty, Lord Mayor Cllr. Mick Finn, Heritage Officer Niamh Twomey and Cllr. Mick Nugent at the launch of Cork Heritage Open Day 2018 in St. Peters.


Cork Heritage Open Day is organised by Cork City Council as part of National Heritage Week in partnership with the Heritage Council, and is proudly supported by media sponsors, Evening Echo and Cork’s 96FM.

“We’re also so grateful for the army of volunteers, without whom Cork Heritage Open Day wouldn’t be possible” said Niamh Twomey, Heritage Officer with Cork City Council.  “We’d love to welcome some new faces to join our volunteer this team, and help us make it this special and unique day our best yet!”

Cork Heritage Open Day kicks off the Cork events for National Heritage Week, which runs this year from August 18th – 26th.

For a full list of events events, visit www.corkheritageopenday.ie or pick up a brochure at Cork City Library or Cork City Tourist Information Office on Patrick’s Street.

Travel by bus in Cork City for only €1

Reduced fares and enhanced Park & Ride to mark re-introduction of Patrick St bus priority


Bus Éireann and the National Transport Authority (NTA) will introduce new promotional fares tomorrow, August 09th, to mark the re-introduction of bus priority measures in St. Patrick’s Street, Cork.


Adults using a Leap Card in the extended Red Zone – including Carrigaline, Crosshaven, Bishopstown and Ringaskiddy – can travel from 2pm daily until the end of each service for only €1 per trip. The cost is just 50 cent for child – up to 18 years old – on the Child Leap Card. The promotion will run for almost six weeks inclusive from Thursday, August 9th to Saturday, September 15th to incentivise travel by bus to and from the city.

More information on Leap Card is available at www.leapcard.ie and www.buseireann.ie/LeapCork.


Passengers parking at the Black Ash Park & Ride – operated by Bus Éireann on behalf of Cork City Council – can also benefit from an improved service, which will now operate from 7am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday, with a 10 minute bus frequency during peak hours of 7am – 9.30am and 4pm – 7pm. The route commences at Black Ash and now travels via the South Link Road stopping at Eglington St, Merchant’s Quay (via Parnell Place), Patrick St, Grand Parade, South Mall and Anglesea St. The enhanced service will no longer stop at/serve Lapps Quay or Albert St.


Passengers who park cars (and up to 4 companions) and board at the Black Ash Park & Ride, just pay for car parking and present the ticket to the bus driver. This ticket ensures return transport to and from Cork city centre without further payment. Foot passengers can also board the bus at the various stops. These passengers can also avail of the promotional Leap Card fares – as applied to other Bus Éireann services – until September 15th next.


Bus Éireann Operations Manager South, Martin Walsh said the company welcomed the re-introduction of public transport priority on Patrick St and special promotional fares:


“The bus priority measures on Patrick Street reduced some of our journey times significantly, so the return of this measure is helpful in terms of combating traffic congestion.

With promotional fares of €1 per adult and 50c per child to travel around the city for most of the day, we would say to people ‘try the bus and see the benefits’.”

To learn more about the benefits of the Leap Card visit www.leapcard.ie.


Where can I buy/top up my Leap Card?

There are a number of TFI Leap Card payzone outlets in and around Cork City Centre.

These include:

  • Easons – St Patrick’s Street
  • Twilight News – St Patrick’s Street
  • Buckley’s Kiosk – Merchant’s Quay
  • Caulfield’s – Merchant’s Quay
  • Bus Eireann – Parnell Place
  • Centra, Clifford’s – Shandon Street
  • Centra, Herlihy’s – Grand Parade
  • Centra, Herlihy’s – Oliver Plunkett Street
  • Sexton’s Daybreak – Old Blackrock Road
  • Centra – Washington Street
  • Spar – Douglas Street
  • Marina Filling Station – Victoria Road

Shine A Light Night with Focus Ireland

We are proud to announce that we, the Cork Business Association, have agreed to assist Focus Ireland in circulating and promoting Shine A Light Night 2018.

Shine a Light Night is a truly touching event where the Business Community come together for one night to raise vital funds and to stand in solidarity with people experiencing homelessness in Ireland today.

Why Focus Ireland?

Be part of this extraordinary night by joining the Business Leaders Sleep Out on Spike Island.

Join the CEO’S , General Managers and Managing Directors of Businesses throughout Cork and the region on Spike Island, where you can swap your executive chair for a sleeping bag and join your peers for one night to raise vital funds to support our work and send a message of solidarity to people experiencing homelessness in Cork and Ireland today.

This is really for YOU to commit and participate in the sleep out and to fundraise through business, community and family contacts. This can be through events, donations, sponsor cards and online. The target income is within the region of €2000 to €3000, but all fundraising amounts generated are welcome and appreciated.

Sign Up Procedure?
Simply register to participate by emailing dick.white@focusireland.ie and we will sign you up, get any support materials out to you and set up your on line fundraising page through Everyday Hero.

What other options might we have to support Focus Ireland?
If the Business Leaders Sleep Out clashes with your diary or does not suit, you can also get your team together and organise Shine A Light at Work by hosting a workplace Sleep Out. This is an option which builds awareness amongst a wider group and gives the opportunity to support our work and generate some funds.

Where and When?

  • Spike Island, Cork Harbour
  • 12thOctober


Shine A Light Night 2018 Partners

“Focus Ireland is working to end homelessness. We believe that everyone has a right to a place to call home.”

Irish Water to host information evening in advance of project to replace old water mains in MacCurtain Street and surrounding area

Irish Water will shortly begin a project to replace approximately 4km of old water mains in Cork city centre which will result in significant improvements in the water supply for local customers.


The project will involve the decommissioning of old and damaged cast iron water main, much of which dates back to the early 1900s, in an area north of the river, on MacCurtain Street and surrounding streets.*


This work is essential in order to maintain a secure and reliable water supply for the people of Cork City. Due to the age of the pipes to be replaced, they have become severely corroded and have a high level of leakage as well as being subject to frequent bursts, which in turn leads to water discoloration issues. In some parts of the city over 60% of water supplied is lost through leakage. This project will benefit local residents by providing them with a more secure, reliable supply.


Removing old cast iron and lead pipes from the public water network and replacing them with new ductile iron and plastic (polyethylene) pipes will also reduce the risk of contamination, helping to protect customers’ health



Prior to the commencement of this work Irish Water, in partnership with Cork City Council, will host a drop in information evening relating to the planned water network improvement works. This will take place in the Metropole Hotel, MacCurtain Street, from 5pm to 7pm on Thursday, July 5th

Members of the public are invited to drop in, meet the project team and find out more about the proposed programme of works.



€20 million to be invested in Cork City

This project forms part of Irish Water’s national Leakage Reduction Programme which will see over €500 million invested over the next four years to reduce leakage and improve water supplies. In 2018/2019, we plan to invest €20 million in Cork City’s distribution network through water mains rehabilitation, lead service replacement, leak detection and repair programme and the First Fix Free scheme. As a result of this work, Irish Water expects to save up to 3 million litres of treated water every day.


Steven Blennerhassett, Water Network Programme lead, commented “Replacing these old water mains on MacCurtain Street, the Lower Glanmire Road and surrounding streets will reduce leakage and result in a major improvement in the water supply for our customers in the area. Combined with the proposed upgrade of the Lee Road water treatment plant and ongoing water main rehabilitation work throughout the city, this is part of Irish Water’s commitment to providing the people of Cork with a modern, safe and efficient water supply network.


“We recognise that works of this nature can cause inconvenience and we are committed to minimising any disruption by engaging with local businesses, residents and other stakeholders. We look forward to meeting the public at our information evening on July 5th where the project team will be available to discuss the plans and address any concerns people may have ahead of the commencement of the work.”



Temporary traffic management arrangements will be put in place

Construction is expected to commence by the end of July and the work will be carried out by Coffey Northumbrian on behalf of Irish Water. Temporary traffic management arrangements will be put in place as the work progresses in order to minimise disruption to the public and to businesses and residents in the area. The contractors will liaise with the Cork City Council Roads Department, An Garda Síochána and local residents and businesses who will be notified about upcoming events likely to cause disturbance such as planned temporary disconnection of services, working hours or any other planned works.


When construction is underway areas of work will be limited to short sections to minimise impact on the community. The works may involve some short-term water shut offs and the project team will ensure that customers are given a minimum of 48 hours’ notice prior to any planned water shut offs.


Prior to the start of the main construction work, site investigation work is due to get underway this Monday, July 2. This will involve digging a number of trial holes in MacCurtain Street and surrounding area. This work will be mainly located in parking bays to keep disruption to a minimum and work areas will be limited to short sections.


We would like to apologise in advance for any inconvenience as a result of this essential work. Details of work in the area will be updated regularly on the Water Supply Updates or you can call our customer care team on 1850 278 278, open 24/7.



For more information on how we are reducing leakage across the country, visit www.water.ie

You can also play your part by reporting leaks on public property such as footpaths, roads and communal areas, using our online form or by calling 1850 278 278.




*The locations to benefit from these improvement works include the following:

Leitrim Street Carrol’s Quay York Street
Pine Street Lower Glanmire Rd Woods Place
Hardwick Street Devonshire Street Little William Street
Coburg Street St. Patrick’s Quay St. Patrick’s Hill
Camden Place MacCurtain Street Water Street
Bridge Street Harley Street Lower Grattan Hill

Planning given for hotel tower on Sullivan’s Quay

CORK’s hospitality offering is set for a major boost after the city’s biggest planned hotel was given the green light by An Bord Pleanála.

The ambitious redevelopment of the former tax office on Sullivan’s Quay has taken a significant step forward with the news that the multi-million euro mixed-use hotel and office development has been approved by the planning authority.

Construction company Bam has now been granted permission to build a 193-bed hotel, including a 12-storey cylindrical tower on the corner of Sullivan’s Quay and Meade Street.

The hotel development, which includes underground car parking, a bar, restaurant and retail area, as well as a gym, will be built adjacent to a six-storey office development of some 9,310 square metres.

Approval of the new development is the latest chapter in a long history for the Sullivan’s Quay site.

An artist's impression of the hotel and office development planned for Sullivan's Quay.

An artist’s impression of the hotel and office development planned for Sullivan’s Quay.

Developers were initially granted permission for a major office development and a 183-bed hotel in 2009. BAM had acquired the site from the Revenue Commissioners in 2006.

However, the decade-long financial and construction downturn meant that the site remained undeveloped.

It became home to dozens of artists and CIT students, who used the space until the beginning of 2017.

In May 2017, BAM lodged plans to modify the 2009 permission to include 193 hotel beds, an increase of ten.

Further changes were proposed in November of last year, with BAM seeking to increase the number of beds to 220.

This final change was not approved by city planners, though, who green-lit plans for the 193-bed hotel.

A number of objections saw the case referred to An Bord Pleanála, with planners finally approving the plans this week, clearing the way.

In the interim, the building was subject to antisocial behaviour and fires, a move which promoted BAM to demolish the site, removing what had often been considered to be an eyesore from the city’s skyline.

There is no timeline attached to the new development as yet.



Source: Kevin O’Neill writing for the Evening Echo.