Panoramic tourist spot plan on hold

Plans to develop a tourist attraction at one of Cork City’s most panoramic locations have been shelved.

City manager Tim Lucey said pressure on capital budgets was to blame for his decision to put the Bell’s Field regeneration on hold.

The city council identified Bell’s Field, at the top of St Patrick’s Hill, as a potential tourist attraction and destination back in 2007.

Plans to develop tourist facilities in the area — which offers stunning views of the city — were drawn up as part of a wider area action plan to upgrade streets in and around Coburg St.

The council said at the time the viewing point at Bell’s Field was one of the most impressive in the city and attracts a number of visitors, particularly during the summer.

“However, at present, this resource is under-utilised and offers much potential in terms of promotion and development as an attractive space,” the 2007 report said.

It set out a broad vision which included:

* Upgrading St Patrick’s Hill as a key walking route from the city centre to Bell’s Field.

* The installation at Bell’s Field of information boards identifying landmark buildings and features such as ridges which are visible from the viewing point.

* The installation of park benches or seats in the area.

* And the location of a small kiosk, shop or tourist information point there.

The report said Bell’s Field could serve as the key part of a panoramic tourist walking route, which would link to other areas such as the Collins Barracks Museum.

The proposed route would take in a number of important views, including views of St Anne’s Tower in Shandon.

Cllr Kenneth O’Flynn asked Mr Lucey for an update on the Coburg St plan and, in particular, for an update on the Bell’s Field proposals.

He pointed out that Bell’s Field was used in postcards and featured in TV programmes on Cork which have been broadcast around the world.

But Mr Lucey said there are no funds at the moment to progress the scheme.

“A scoping exercise involving parks, planning and architects was carried out just prior to the economic crisis to explore options for an upgraded layout and design in the context of an inner city attraction and local amenity.

“Due to the present pressure on capital budgets, this project has been put on hold until the financial situation is more favourable.”

Mr O’Flynn asked the manager to do more to advance the project but Mr Lucey said he could not guarantee it would be a priority project next year.

Award-winning theatre group, Corcadorca, used Bell’s Field for the graphic reenactment of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus at the culmination of its stunning Trial of Jesus performance on Good Friday 2000.

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