The accolade was handed down yesterday by the Academy Of Urbanism Awards - much to the delight of Lord Mayor of Cork Chris O’Leary, who described it as “a real coup.”
The street, which happens to be celebrating its 300th anniversary this year, triumphed over two other finalists: Cairns St, Liverpool, and Deptford High St, London.
It won overwhelmingly after academics judged it top in several criteria which included local character, commercial success and environmental sustainability. It is the first time an Irish street has won the award.
Geoff Haslam, lead assessor for the Academy of Urbanism said: “It’s fair to say that we have been overwhelmed by Oliver Plunkett St. It offers everything that we are looking for in a great street and more. We sometimes have to search for the DNA of a street, but Oliver Plunkett Street exudes it; it’s a vibrant living street and community, full of little surprises and it is clearly on an upward trajectory.”
Fellow assessor Alistair Barr said Oliver Plunkett Stwas once of the best-organised communities they had encountered in the competition.
In the six years they have been judging the awards, the judges said Oliver Plunkett St had really “raised the bar” for the other two finalists.
Mr O’Leary said the Academy of Urbanism brings together a group of social thinkers and practitioners who recognise the most enduring and improved urban environments.
“This has been such a wonderful experience, from start to finish and a real collaboration between traders, Cork City Council, and the Cork Business Associationt,” said Clodagh Daly of John Daly Opticians. “This award is an acknowledgement of our great street and the people and history behind it”.
This is the second time in three years that Cork has scooped a major award from the internationally renowned Academy of Urbanism.