New life has been breathed into one of the most historic parts of Cork City thanks to a €500,000 investment in the public realm and a cultural venue.
A new €38,000 public plaza has been developed by Cork City Council, in the shadow of the landmark Shandon Bells and alongside the Cork Butter Museum and Firkin Crane.
And the Firkin Crane itself, the home of dance in Cork, is set to benefit from a significant investment in its buildings and facilities.
As part of the public realm upgrades, paving has been upgraded and five new benches have been installed at the new Shandon plaza ahead of the summer season.
It is hoped the new public space will encourage locals and visitors to spend more time enjoying the charms of an area which is home to the iconic ‘Four Faced Liar’, St Anne’s Church at Shandon, and which has some of the most historic laneways in the city, some of which date back to the 12th century.
And a €360,000 makeover is underway at the Firkin Crane, which will include a new glazed entrance, a full renovation of the Musgrave Theatre, and the installation of new motorised seating.
Cork City Council’s tourism section has fully funded the plaza scheme while the council, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Musgrave family are funding the Firkin Crane renovation.
Lord Mayor Cllr Tony Fitzgerald said the Shandon quarter is close to the heart of every Corkonian.
“It also has a growing reputation for the annual summer Shandon Street Festival, the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival, and the Dragon of Shandon Festival at Halloween so any public realm benefits should be enjoyed by the city’s festival goers,” he said.
James Nolan, a local trader and member of the Shandon Area Renewal Association (SARA), the Shandon Business Association and the local Tidy Towns group, said that the plaza has already made a huge difference to locals and businesses in the area.
“It’s a lovely secluded spot with great views and so locals and tourists are making use of it, sitting down and soaking up the atmosphere and that means that they are spending money in nearby businesses,” he said.
Shandon has been taking part in the Tidy Towns competition for six years and this investment should benefit them this year, he said.
In June, we have our annual Shandon Festival and we’re hoping to launch it from the new plaza and use the space as part of our events programme.”
The city council’s tourism section is also producing a visitor booklet to highlight the charms and attractions of the Shandon area.
Firkin Crane, CEO, Paul McCarthy said the renovations at their building are taking place in two phases, with the new entrance and foyer providing a spectacular front to the building.
“As part of the project, the Musgrave Theatre will also now be an exhibition space that all sectors of the community can come and experience a range of dance experiences every day,” he said.
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