Cloyne to put itself on tourist trail

Plans are being drawn up to bring in more tourists to an East Cork village by opening up a 30m-high round tower and 11th century cathedral.

The Dean of Cloyne, Rev Alan Marley, in the Narthex in St Colman's Cathedral, Cloyne, Co Cork. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Cloyne Community Council has been in discussions with the owners of the two monuments, the Church of Ireland, and has commissioned an expert report by archaeological consultants on the best way of preserving and putting on show the treasure trove of history in the area.

The Dean of Cloyne, Rev Alan Marley, said he was anxious to see the tower reopened to the public.

It was built in the 10th century as part of a monastic settlement founded some centuries earlier by St Colman. The tower has been inaccessible for around 15 years due to safety concerns.

“That is not going to be an easy project in itself and we will need help from bodies which can provide grants,” said Rev Marley. “Just opening up the tower on its own isn’t the end of it, we need to offer other options in the area for visitors.

The cathedral is open for services and a sextant can open it up on other occasions by appointment to view is magnificent interior.

However, Rev Marley said that a group called Friends of Cloyne Cathedral formed to help maintain it also run concerts and other events within it for the public.

Last year, they organised a weekend focussing on the life of John Mortimer Brinkley (1763-1835), who was Bishop of Cloyne and the first Royal Astronomer of Ireland.

He was also president of the Royal Irish Academy and President of the Royal Astronomical Society.

“We ran the event in association with Blackrock Observatory and a lot of people came,” Rev Marley said.

A music festival will take place in the Cathedral from September 15-17 featuring a number of acts including Red Hurley.

Rev Marley said Cloyne, home to Cork hurling heroes Christy Ring and Donal Óg Cusack, is also rich in GAA history.

Rev Marley said the village could put on a heritage exhibition and try and tie itself in with other venues in East Cork, such as the Jameson distillery and Ballycotton lighthouse as venue for excursions from cruise liners berthing in Cobh.

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