Cork’s first citizen has defended the €250,000 refurbishment of public areas in historic City Hall and said it will help the city put its best foot forward.
Lord Mayor Terry Shannon was speaking ahead of this weekend’s unveiling of the revamped areas including a new civic and mayoral museum.
“There is never a good time to spend money on a public building,” Mr Shannon said.
“But as the main conservation officers in the city, where we tell other people how to deal with their buildings, we need to show leadership.
“And in that regard, we started this programme of refurbishment which when finished, will give City Hall a tremendous lift and will help us put our best foot forward.
“It’s where we bring visiting dignitaries and the building should reflect what the city is all about.”
City Hall was built between 1932 and 1936, with few changes needed over the decades. But in recent years, paint and plaster has begun peeling from the internal walls around the council chamber.
Mr Shannon said while a lot of remedial work is required, this initial investment is just a “small step forward” in what he said should be a 10-year refurbishment programme.
The money has been spent painting the atrium inside the main Anglesea Street entrance and installing new brighter lighting.
Information panels will be installed chronicling the history of the landmark building, the city council, and the office of lord mayor. It will eventually become part of a walking tourist trail.
Upstairs, on the lord mayor’s landing, framed photographs of every lord mayor since 1989 have been hung on the corridor walls.
Display cabinets will be installed to house artefacts associated with the office of lord mayor, including the great sword of Cork and the freedman of the city casket.
Black and white photographs of every lord mayor since 1900 will hang inside the refurbished board room.
New curtains have been hung in the council chamber, floors have been sanded, and a new carpet, bearing the city’s coat of arms, has been laid in the lord mayor’s office, replacing the 25-year-old carpet.
Mr Shannon has invited former lords mayor, lady mayoresses and the families or descendants of deceased lords mayor to contact City Hall to arrange for their attendance at a civic reception after the St Patrick’s Day parade on Saturday to celebrate the museum’s opening.
It is hoped that some may loan other memorabilia to the city for display.
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