CLARE County Council should seek to develop a partnership with cruise ship operators that use the Shannon Estuary, as well as looking at the potential of using Cahercon, Kilrush and Carrigaholt for landing passengers, according to Councillor Ian Lynch.
At the May meeting of West Clare Municipal District Councillors he said that such discussions could add to the region’s tourism offering.
“In some areas, especially around Kilrush, we’re not at capacity around tourism yet. Maybe there’s potential there to look at it, how we manage it is up to us and I’d just like the conversation to go on.”
He said the industry is changing and there is potential there for West Clare.
“There is an industry out there, a cruise ship industry that uses the Estuary. There was a documentary on National Geographic recently about the changes in the industry, the large cruise ship is going to be gone and the smaller cruise ship is what the future holds.
“I think it’s possible we could benefit from some of that industry. All I’m asking is that we set up some conversation with the pilots that are currently there.
“Two tour guides contacted me and said we are missing out on the Clare side, it’s going over to Foynes and there is potential there.”
In a report to the meeting, Senior Planner Brian McCarthy said that there are ongoing efforts being made.
“Over the last year, Clare County Council’s Strategic Economic Initiatives unit have worked and collaborated with Shannon Foynes Port Company and Kerry County Council, Limerick City and County Council to form Cruise Shannon Estuary.
“Cruise Shannon Estuary is an initiative to sustainably grow the cruise and sustainable marine tourism industry and establishing Shannon Estuary and County Clare as one of the top destinations for cruise liners in Europe.
“In the context of County Clare, the proposal will seek to dock small to medium size cruise
ships mid-way in the Estuary and tender passengers south to Foynes for onward trips to Kerry
and Limerick and tender northwards to Cahercon Pier and Clare, enabling tourists visit the
amenities and attractions in the nearby coastal towns and villages of the Clare along the
Estuary and experience the stunning trails, local produce and attractions of the county.
“In assessing the feasibility of the assets of Cahercon, Kilrush and Carraigholt for landing
passengers, the choice of Cahercon was derived from engagement with SFPC and the cruise
sector over the last years, the physical and logistical attributes of Cahercon Pier itself and the
positive policy framework set out in the Clare County Development Plan 2017-2023 and the
SIFP for the Shannon Estuary.
“Notwithstanding the focus for now on this Cruise Shannon Estuary initiative is Cahercon pier, there are also significant potential for Carriagholt and Kilrush for further maritime-related development and initiatives.”
He added that a promotional video on the attractions of Clare to the cruise industry was launched last month had been launched last month by Cruise Shannon Estuary.
by Owen Ryan