The Committee of Management of Mizen Tourism Co-operative Society Ltd. are grateful to all the people involved in funding the development of Mizen Head Visitor Centre over the last 28 years. Shares are available at €35.
Mizen Head Fog Signal Station was sanctioned in 1906 by the Irish Lights Board to combat the high loss of life and shipping on the rocks. Until 1993 the Station was manned by three Keepers; in April 1993 the Station was automated. In 1992 Mizen Tourism Co-operative Society Ltd., a community rural development initiative, was formed to create Mizen Head Visitor Centre, 'Mizen Vision', in the former Keepers' Quarters and to take a lease on the path to the Lights at the Point from the Commissioners of Irish Lights. (www.cil.ie).
The Commissioners of Irish Lights enabled this development through their generosity and foresight in allowing Mizen Tourism Co-operative to develop Mizen Head Visitor Centre at Mizen Head Signal Station. They are primarily concerned with Safety at Sea and Navigational Aids to shipping. At first it was difficult for them to adapt to tourism. However, with the automation of all the Lighthouses and Stations round the Irish Coast, tourism has kept several Stations in use. The Commissioners of Irish Lights have developed an tourist attraction, The Great Lighthouses of Ireland.
In 1993 the loss of employment, direct and indirect, was a main concern for the community around Mizen Head Signal Station. Local farmers provided water for the tanks and local shops provided groceries and coal. Besides the three Keepers, there was an army of tradesmen working for the Irish Lights, who went from Station to Station renovating, restoring, painting, repairing the buildings in the most amazing locations in Ireland North and South, on and off shore.Mizen Head Visitor CentreFinancially, the development was only possible because ofMizen Vision West Cork LEADER matching European funding. Murphy's Irish Stout and Mizen Tourism Co-operative Shareholders sponsored the matching funds. Cork County Council has been very supportive - supplying a car park and picnic area as well as funding in the early days.In 1993 the Path to the Bridge and the Signal Station was fenced and Mizen Vision, interpretive displays of the Light keepers' lives, the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse (15 kms 9 miles off shore) and the Mizen Environment, was created in the former Keepers' Quarters and the Engine Room (so called for the three massive Generators, which were in use pre electricity days and after as a back up). The Ticket Office, Shop and Washrooms were in small Portacabin temporary buildings at the car park.From 1994 to 2001 the Centre attracted over 200,000 visitors. In 2001 with the aid of funding from BordFáilte/ERDF (European Rural Development Fund), West Cork LEADER, the National Millennium Fund (Exchequer funding), Cork County Council and a large loan from AIB the new facilities and display building, Mizen Head Visitor Centre, was opened. From 2002 until 2007 a new section to the Visitor Centre Above was built and the Signal Station was refurbished. This new section has a new upgraded Navigational Aids Simulator with CGI of the coast around the Mizen and Fastnet Lighthouse, Geological Display and the Mizen Tide Clock. Funding was through ERDF/Fáilte Ireland and Cork County Council. Phil and Sherri O’Donovan, local benefactors, gave a most generous donation. An AIB Term Loan and Mizen Tourism Co-operative income completed the funding.
In 2005 the Bridge was declared nonviable by the consulting engineers, RPS. They were unable to send a laser beam continuously through the reinforcing iron in the concrete from one side of the bridge to the other. It was too dangerous to allow pedestrian traffic so the bridge was closed for 6 weeks while a temporary solution was found. Funding was given by CIL and Cork County Council to create a temporary footway with a lifespan of 3-5 years. For the next 5 years Mizen Tourism Co-op canvassed rigorously for funding to replace the Bridge. Funding was assembled in 2009. Fáilte Ireland granted €1.9m, CIL €200,000 and Cork County Council €200,000. Cork County Council became the client. The contract was awarded to construction company, Carillion Irishenco. In October 2009 Mizen Bridge was closed for demolition and reconstruction for 18 months and reopened in March 2011.Towards the end of the contract, Fáilte Ireland granted €500,000 for additional visitor amenities; 4 new paths were constructed by the contractors. In November 2011 Mizen Head Bridge won the 2011 Engineering Project of the Year in the Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards and a Commendation in the category for Heritage Award for Building or Infrastructure Projects for the Institution of Structural Engineers. The Structural Awards are the world’s pre-eminent awards for structural engineering. In April 2013 the Irish Concrete Society announced Mizen Head Bridge winner of the Infrastructural and Overall Awards.
For details of the construction of the Mizen Head Bridge you will get more information on the Lusas web site. More details also can be found on the Cork County Council's web site, www.corkcoco.ie/co/pdf/875958052.pdf
Committee of Management :
Dr. Brian O'Connell Chairman, Primary Care Centre, Schull and Goleen Surgery
Michael Barnett, Schull.
William Buckley, Goleen P.O.
Sue Hill, Development Officer, The Heron’s Cove Restaurant & B&B, Goleen Harbour.
Maureen Newman, Galleycove House B&B, Crookhaven
Stephen O'Sullivan, Manager, Mizen Tourism Co-operative Society Ltd. Goleen
Dermot Sheehan, Sheehan’s Mini market, Goleen.
Diarmuid Kenneally, Barleycove Holiday Park