“A day in the life of ” John Crotty, General Manager of the award winning Spike Island visitor attraction


John Crotty has been the General Manager at Spike Island since its opening in 2016.  The former prison and fortress has successfully tripled its visitor numbers, increased its economic contribution in the Cork area and recently won ‘Best Attraction’ at the 2019 International travel awards.  John is a graduate of Swansea University and the Irish Management Institute.

Q 1- How does your normal day begin? –

Coffee, soda bread and a drive followed by a ferry.  I travel to the island most days and check in with ticketing, guiding and maintenance staff to ensure we are set up for the day.  I then review bookings and plan our day accordingly as no two days are the same.

Q 2- What are your biggest daily challenges?

Being an island location it is logistics.  If you consider the difficulties of running several museums, a gallery, a retail shop, a cafe, meeting rooms, several diverse departments from curatorial staff to maintenance, maintaining several centuries’ old buildings, 104 acres and put two kilometres of water in between reached by 2 ferries and a barge, you can see the challenge.

Q3- What do you love most about your job?

Working with the great staff and driving job creation by increasing visitors and new tour formats.  People make any place worthwhile and the more you can employ, the more rewarding it feels.  Trying to add something new and original is always exciting.  I love the history of our site also, we are always discovering more.

Q 4- What do you do to relax?

I read and write a lot, a mix of fiction and historical.  I love to travel and see Ireland’s nature and historical sites with my wife and I have been to over 40 countries.  A day off is a day for the Times, good food and Guinness!

Q 5-Favourite staycation destination in Ireland and why?

Kerry is very special.  It feels like the Ireland of old, with its islands, people and customs.  It is Ireland’s most beautiful county with breathtaking hikes.

Q 6-Favourite holiday destination worldwide?

Rome has always been special for me with its history, food and culture.  You could go ten times and not see all there is worth seeing.

Q 7-Favourite Business motto?

We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence is not an act but a habit – Aristotle

Q 8. Advice for young business entrepreneurs

Go for it, nothing is achieved by doing nothing.   And ask for advice, people are great and will make time to help others succeed.  When someone tells you that you cannot do something it is usually because they cannot do it themselves.




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