‘Young Offenders’ city trail proposed

You could soon be walking in the footsteps of Cork’s favourite tracksuit-wearing teenage tearaways, Conor and Jock, if a former lord mayor has his way.

‘Young Offenders’ city trail proposed

Momentum is building behind Fine Gael councillor Des Cahill’s proposal for a Young Offenders-inspired trail through the city of sites featured in the hit TV and film.

Officials in Cork City Council said the success of the TV series, which, like the 2016 film, is based and filmed in Cork, represents an opportunity for showcasing the city.

The council’s head of corporate affairs, Paul Moynihan, accepted that there is “exciting potential” based on the huge viewer interest in the six-part show, which is midway through its first series on RTÉ and BBC.

“There is exciting potential around what could spin-off from the show, in terms of showcasing all that’s best in Cork,” he said.

“It represents an opportunity that the city would like to see developed into a product and we would be excited to see what projects might emerge, and we would be delighted to hear from, and work with, anyone who has a proposal.”

It follows a suggestion from Mr Cahill, who himself starred in a Young Offenders-inspired promo video shot last year by series creator and director Peter Foott, to promote a charity cycle.

Mr Cahill said the city should embrace and celebrate the show’s success, and use it as a foundation to promote the city to a national and international audience.

“I think an official tour of Young Offenders sites in Cork is a great idea and would drive tourism which is always fantastic. But it would need to be organised correctly with careful consideration,” he said.

He floated the idea on Twitter after last week’s episode, and the proposal is gathering momentum, with urban regeneration group Mad About Cork signalling its support.

Mr Cahill said the trail could include Bell’s Field, which would need investment, St Patrick’s Hill, St Patrick’s St, Paul St and the Coal Quay, the English Market, Daly’s Bridge, where Conor and Jock stripped down to their underwear before taking the plunge into the River Lee, and St Finbarr’s Cemetery, where a pivotal and emotionally charged scene was shot for last week’s episode.

The tour could be done on foot, or on the city’s Cork Zero bikes, said Mr Cahill.

Belfast has capitalised on the success of Game of Thrones, and Birmingham offers Peaky Blinders tours. Cork could learn lessons from the experience of both cities, he said.

Mr Cahill dismissed some critics’ concerns about the show’s portrayal of the grittier side of Cork.

“Cork isn’t all about UCC, the Crawford Gallery, and its tech and pharmaceutical industries,” he said.

“It’s a very mixed city, with a quirky sense of humour, and an ability to laugh at itself. And it’s that mix that makes Cork the great city it is.

“The show is done in good faith and with good humour, and should be seen for what it is — a comedy.

“But it also has a serious side with a serious message in each episode.

The Young Offenders has garnered a huge following, and we should take advantage of it.”

Peter Foott, writer, director, and executive producer of ‘The Young Offenders’. Picture: David Keane
Peter Foott, writer, director, and executive producer of ‘The Young Offenders’. Picture: David Keane

The stars of the show are expected to attend a charity screening of the final episode in the English Market on Saturday, March 10, days before it airs on RTÉ2 and BBC.

The 2016 movie became the fastest Irish film to break the €1m mark at the Irish box office and the spin-off TV series has also been a hit.

The BBC has already commissioned a second series of the show.

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