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Cork reveals medieval quarter renovation plans

Cork reveals medieval quarter renovation plans

The first phase of the EUR 46.05 million “Grand Parade Quarter” project will begin next year

Cork will embark on one of the most transformative and ambitious communal renovation programmes ever undertaken in Ireland’s second largest city – the refurbishment of its historic medieval quarter. The “Grand Parade Quarter” project worth EUR 46.05 million will kick off next year.

Co-funded by the government and Cork City Council

According to recently revealed details, the first phase of the project will see a comprehensive renewal of the area around the southern gateway to the medieval city which connects the Grand Parade and a series of historic lanes, streets and Bishop Lucey Park with the south channel of the River Lee and the business core of the city centre.

Following public consultation, tendering and contractor appointments are scheduled for the first quarter of 2022, with construction set to begin later next year. The renovation works will be co-funded by the government through its Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) established under the Ireland 2040 programme and by Cork City Council’s own resources. This is the first project in Cork city financed through the URDF mechanism.

Bishop Lucey Park will receive a makeover based on an award-winning architectural design. The design plan opens up the park to the wider city centre, re-imagines space within it, improves the biodiversity of the area, and puts the city’s medieval wall in focus.

South Main Street will be transformed through the creation of a large public space, opening up the historic Counting House on the Beamish and Crawford site, as well as new walking and cycling lanes around the area. A sustainable greening strategy will bring colour and vibrancy to the area with street trees, low-level planting beds and planters lining the walkways and roads.

The final phase of the project will see the construction of a state-of-the-art city public library in the Grand Parade area.

Striking game changer

The Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Colm Kelleher described the project as “striking and game changing” for the city. “The Grand Parade Project will create a wonderfully attractive environment providing accessible and inviting spaces and streets for residents and visitors alike. It will attract more people to this historic part of the city centre and be a great fillip to business,” said the Mayor, as quoted by the city website.

The City’s Chief Executive, Ann Doherty said: “The project is very much in keeping with our objective to “Re-imagine the City” which the City Council has championed in the Covid era in collaboration with businesses, communities and other stakeholders. The greater receptiveness to change arising from today’s challenges has allowed us to fast forward many of our proposals and plans. The gains are very obvious - the permanent pedestrianisation of seventeen city centre streets, the facilitation of outdoor dining and a “greening” of the city centre on a scale never previously seen."

Ireland’s fastest-growing city

Ms Doherty asserted that Cork is poised to be the fastest-growing city in Ireland to 2040, an ambition underpinned by a commitment of continued investment by the Government. She recalled that since the publication of the National Planning Framework in 2018, the Irish government has allocated EUR 1.7 billion to mobility, housing and placemaking in Cork, with further investment in health and education. 

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