Cork tourist sites throw open their doors in much-needed boost for culture lovers

Cork tourist sites throw open their doors in much-needed boost for culture lovers
Spike Island had to write-off an expected influx of American tourists. Picture:  Courtesy of John Crotty, Spike Island Manager

Some of Cork's best loved tourism amenities are putting the finishing touches in place ahead of planned reopenings on Monday after a lengthy break.

While there will be some changes - reduced capacity and one-way systems can be expected and face coverings are advised in many places - it is a much-needed boost for culture lovers, tourists and anyone looking for a return to some sense of normality.

The Crawford Art Gallery will reopen its doors at 10am on Monday after a 15-week closure. The gallery used its downtime to boost its social media presence and they hope to see this support translate into new visitors.

Director Mary McCarthy said there is no substitute for standing in front of a work of art, though.

Cork tourist sites throw open their doors in much-needed boost for culture lovers
Artwork is rehung as the Crawford Art Gallery prepares for reopening on Monday after closure due to Covid-19. Picture: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

"This building needs people. We have been rehanging exhibitions so visitors will have new encounters," she said.

"We also have new signage, both external and internal, in place to support our visitors throughout their visit."

There are some changes: enhanced cleaning procedures are in place, a new one-way system has been introduced, and reading materials have been removed or replaced. Face coverings are recommended, but the gallery remains free to open and has not introduced a booking system.

And, just a few minutes walk away, St Peters is also set to reopen on North Main Street on Monday. The gallery enjoyed a 38% spike in visitor numbers year-on-year before closing on March 13.

Cork tourist sites throw open their doors in much-needed boost for culture lovers
St. Peter's Church, Cork, will reopen on Monday.

Its anchor exhibition on Cork 100 years ago remains in place for those looking to learn more about a tumultuous year in the city, where two Lord Mayors died and martial law was imposed before the infamous Burning of Cork devastated the city.

Face coverings are advised and capacity has been reduced.

A little further afield is Spike Island, which has sadly had to write-off an expected influx of American tourists. Cork's Alcatraz is currently featured on the Discovery channel in the US.

John Crotty, Island manager, said 2020 is now a "reset year" and they have put some art exhibitions on hold but, he said, there are still 104 acres of nature and wildlife, scenic walking routes and, of course, the prison itself.

Spike Island has implemented significantly reduced capacity both on the island and the ferry over, as well as socially distant queues, a one-way system and face coverings for adults.

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