New Dursey boat hopes to provide 20 seasonal jobs

For sheer unadulterated exhilaration, it is hard to beat a boat excursion to the Bull Rock off Dursey Island, Co Cork.

New Dursey boat hopes to provide 20 seasonal jobs

For sheer unadulterated exhilaration, it is hard to beat a boat excursion to the Bull Rock off Dursey Island, Co Cork.

Dursey is rightly famous for its cable car, but the Bull Rock 4km further out to sea is an awesome sight in itself.

A new boat service, Dursey Boat Trips, has just been set up by local entrepreneurs Paul O’Shea and Jason Sheahan with a view to opening up this experience to thousands of new visitors.

“With the Wild Atlantic Way being part of the whole tourist route in Ireland, we felt we could add something to it from our side,” says Paul.

And then some.

The lighthouse on the rock was automated back in 1991 but its fortress-like appearance is still a sight to behold.

The Rock is 9km from the mainland and steps wind from sea level to its 93m summit.

In an area which has seen many young people leave to find opportunities, Dursey Boat Trips hopes to provide 20 seasonal jobs once it establishes itself.

With plans afoot for the Dursey Island Interpretive Centre (aiming for completion by 2023) beside the cable car, which itself may provide 50 jobs, the area is set for a big influx of tourists with a knock-on effect to service providers.

Careering out of Garinish pier in a six-seater RIB (a couple of kilometres before the cable car and not to be confused with the Glengarriff one), and zipping along the waves on the north side of rugged Dursey Island the Bull Rock looms up suddenly.

Paul stills the engine and there it is in front of you — a hulking lump of rock with a huge arch underneath, open like a mouth.

This natural sea arch is about 20m high through which some of the lighthousekeepers were known to swim.

Thousands of years ago in the time of the Milesians, thought to be among the first people to settle in Ireland, the Rock was known as Teach Duinn and wasconsidered as the gateway to the underworld.

Hundreds of gannets throng the air in what is the fifth most important nesting colony in Ireland for this magnificent bird after Skellig Michael, 20km to the north.

With black wing tips and yellow beaks, the gannets have made this rock their home and Dursey Boat Trips offers a great chance to see them up close.

Dursey Boat Trips will run up to seven trips per day to the end of the season but also hopes to have some “pop-up” tours in calm weather.

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