TV chef Rachel Allen has backed her coastal community’s tourism drive.

Rachel, who lives in Shanagarry in East Cork, and works in nearby Ballymaloe Cookery School, helped launch a new 112-page guide of the seaside village of Ballycotton charting the rich history of the area, and highlighting the attractions on its doorstep — from sandy beaches, tours of one of Ireland’s great lighthouses, and one of the most stunning cliff walks in the country.

Helen Cuddigan, a member of the local Seafood and Shanty committee, said businesses and local people were all involved in the creation of the new tourism booklet.

“The aim of the guide is to ensure that visitors don’t miss out on all the wonderful amenities and attractions the locality offers,” she said.

The booklet is available locally, priced €5, with the proceeds going towards further village development and tourism initiatives.

The people of Ballycotton have an impressive record of community action. 

Together they salvaged from Dublin and returned to Ballycotton the historic Mary Stanford Lifeboat, famous for its role in the daring 1936 Daunt Lightship rescue. 

The vessel has been restored and is on display near the start of the cliff walk.

Ballycotton Seafood & Shanty committee marketing executive Helen Cuddigan and chairperson Stephen Belton at the official launch of the Ballycotton Tourism Booklet and the Summer 2017 season, which took place at the Bay View Hotel, Ballycotton, Co Cork. Pictures: David Keane
Ballycotton Seafood & Shanty committee marketing executive Helen Cuddigan and chairperson Stephen Belton at the official launch of the Ballycotton Tourism Booklet and the Summer 2017 season, which took place at the Bay View Hotel, Ballycotton, Co Cork. Pictures: David Keane

The community also launched Ballycotton Island Lighthouse Tours, with Yasmin Hyde of Ballymaloe Foods, to offer people, for the first time, a chance to take a short boat trip and guided tour of Ballycotton’s landmark lighthouse — one of the Commissioners of Irish Lights’ 12 Great Lighthouses of Ireland.

The village recently hosted the 40th staging of its famous Ballycotton 10 mile road race, and it hosts several open-air concerts and street parties during the summer.

It will host its fourth Seafood and Shanty festival this June bank holiday weekend, celebrating village life by the sea, fishing, local produce and shanty songs.

Ballycotton pier will be the focus point for several activities, including fish filleting workshops, and arts and crafts for the kids, with fresh fish and chips, sushi and other local food options on offer. 

There will be free ice-cream for all visiting ‘mermaids and pirates’ and the village’s RNLI and Coast Guard volunteers will demonstrate basic water safety.

Boat trips will also run all weekend around the islands and kayak hire is also available.

The day will conclude with a crab derby on the pier.

The area was also recently named Ireland’s first Think Before You Flush village. 

Local environmental campaigners, who organise regular beach cleans, produced an information pack which spelled out the benefits to Ballycotton Bay if people changed their toilet flushing behaviour, and stopped flushing certain items down the toilet.

Almost 200 people and local businesses, including the Garryvoe and Bayview Hotels, Lynch’s Inn by the Harbour, The Schooner Bar, The Blackbird Pub, and Ballycotton Garda Station have all signed up.

The campaign has seen a vast improvement in water quality and their awareness campaign is now being rolled out to dozens of other coastal communities around the country.

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