€4.5m project to transform the Marina to former glory

A €4.5m transformation of Marina Park, Cork, will get under way in September which is set to restore the area to its former Victorian splendour.

The plan includes the transformation of the largely derelict Showgrounds buildings, a grass-tiered amphitheatre, the development of ornamental wetlands gardens and the creation of a large lawn picnic area.

Details were made public last night, just weeks before completion of the €2.5m re-development of Fitzgerald’s Park on the other side of the city.

The new Mardyke Gardens, due to open by the end of May, will feature a bespoke outdoor concert area as the centrepiece with the award-winning Sky Garden facing the River Lee and hundreds of new ornamental plans and trees.

The Marina Park plans, meanwhile, were put on view last night as part of a public consultation process held in City Hall and were formulated by OKRA, one of Europe’s leading landscape architects.

OKRA senior partner Boudewijn Almelkindas said the plans demonstrate they have been sensitive to the heritage of the Showgrounds.

“We plan to keep the structures of some of the outlying halls as massive pergolas while working with the natural flow of the water in the low-lying areas to create walkways through the wetlands on both the Marina and Monaghan Road sides of the park,” Mr Almelkindas said.

The centrepiece of this area will be an amphitheatre with tiered grass banks, flanked by two designated playgrounds. The central structure of the main mall in the Showgrounds will also be restored.

The transformation continues up to the Marina which, it is envisaged, will see the road raised and pedestrianised, bringing it back to the glory days of the Victorian era as a key riverside walking area.

Parking at the city end of the Shandon Boat Club will also be re-modelled.

“This is an exciting project where a park of over 32 hectares, approximately five times the size of Fitzgerald’s Park, will be created and regenerated over the coming years,” said Cork City Council director of services Jim O’Donovan said.

“The Marina Park is a strategic capital project and will act as a catalyst for the future development of Cork City and its Docklands as a place in which to live, work and play.

Mr O’Donovan said it will effectively mean that Cork City will be book-ended by two magnificent parklands — the Mardyke in the west and the Marina in the east.

More in this section