New signs point overseas visitors to Cork's Ancient East sites

Proud Corkonians might be a little baffled by new signs popping up around the city and county telling them they are in Ireland’s Ancient East.

At the Ancient East sign at CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory were Mary Houlihan, Paul Moynihan, and Clair McSweeney. Pic: Gerard McCarthy

Fáilte Ireland’s first phase of its orientation signage for the campaign includes nine in Cork — despite the geographical leap of imagination it requires.

The new signs, designed to encourage visitors to stay and explore the region, have been placed at:

  • Camden Fort Meagher, Crosshaven;
  • Fota House, Arboretum & Gardens;
  • The Jameson Experience, Midleton;
  • Youghal Heritage Centre
  • CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory;
  • Cork City Gaol Cork Public Museum, Fitzgerald Park;
  • Shandon Bells and Cork Butter Museum;
  • St Fin Barre’s Cathedral.

St Fin Barre’s Cathedral

A spokesperson for Fáilte Ireland said the Ireland’s Ancient East brand was primarily focused on an overseas audience who could see Cork as a gateway between it and the Wild Atlantic Way, rather than focus on its specific geographic location.

Fáilte Ireland’s head of Ireland’s Ancient East, Jenny De Saulles, said the focus of the campaign was to encourage people to stay in these regions rather than just pass through on the way to more popular parts of the country.

“For too long, most overseas tourists have seen the South-East, Midlands and North-East as a region to travel to for a day or simply just to travel through.

“Ireland’s Ancient East seeks to change all that by creating enough ‘stickiness’ and points of curiosity that visitors will slow down, explore the region, and stay overnight.

“These signs are geared to encourage that behaviour. Strategically located at popular stopping points, they inform visitors of all the other interesting things to see and do within an hour’s drive in every direction outwards.”

Shaped as a large spiral wheel, each branded sign highlights a range of sites within 60 minutes’ drive from the sign location to encourage visitors to extend their stay and visit more than just the primary sites.

According to Fáilte Ireland, Ireland’s Ancient East seeks to offer tourists a compelling reason to visit Cork by showcasing the “rich history and diverse range of cultural heritage experiences” that are particularly prevalent in this part of Ireland.

Ms De Saulles said the main objective was to increase the number of overnight stays by overseas visitors in Cork as well as increase the tourism revenue generated and the associated tourism employment.

“We want to transform Ireland’s Ancient East from a transit zone to a touring zone by increasing visitor dwell time in the region. Cork has a big part to play in our plans and these signs work to that objective and will, we hope, encourage visitors to explore the rich variety of all Cork can offer,” she said.

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