11 December 2021, Saturday
By Elaine Murphy
The first phase of Cork’s newest park, which when fully completed will be six times the size of Fitzgerald’s Park, will open to the public on Monday. An official opening ceremony will take place in 2022.
Just 2.5 kilometres from the city centre and adjacent to the newly pedestrianised and much-loved Marina, this section of the park is defined by an iconic steel pavilion which pays homage to the Munster Showground’s Central Hall, which formerly stood at this site, and a central plaza, made of natural stone and concrete. This plaza area will be used for gatherings and organised events.
Marina Park has two main functions: a major city park with a variety of attractions and it is also a key climate adaptation intervention; acting as a flood storage basin for the south docklands during periods of pluvial flooding (rainfall).
Visitors to the park can look forward to green space for play and relaxation, water features, lighting, seating, new pathways, bridges and upgraded public parking near Shandon boatclub. Public toilets will be installed before Christmas, having been delayed by supply chain issues.
Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Colm Kelleher said: “This is a fantastic new amenity for the people of the city and for visitors to our city. This park’s design is based upon accessibility for all ages and abilities, encouraging physical activity and supporting ecology, biodiversity, culture and outdoor events. The development of this park also demonstrates how Cork City Council want the nearby Cork City Docklands to be first and foremost a great place to live as well as a great place to work in and invest in”.
The park, was designed by OKRA Landscape Architects, Utrecht, Netherlands with O’ Connor Sutton Cronin ( Consulting Engineers ) and Howley Hayes (Conservation Architects) as part of their team. The park was constructed by Sorensen Civil Engineering Limited, Cork with Greenway Landscaping part of their team.
Detailed design is underway on the next phase of Marina Park which will see the development of another 60 acres of parkland from the Atlantic Pond to Blackrock pier, leading to the creation of a ‘regional eco park’.
This next phase of Marina Park will include woodland, marshland, meadows and water.
- Ecological trails and resting points will be created through existing forested areas
- Managed wetlands, including reeds and water gardens will form part of a rich natural landscape
- A woodland playground will be constructed within the forest
- Meadowlands will be nurtured through planned maintenance and soil improvements which will enhance their biodiversity.
- A cultural heritage trail will run through the park including safe public access to the Barrington Folly, the old quay walls, the slipway at Dundanion Castle and the Ice cave.
Public consultation on phase two of the project is due to take place next Spring with construction beginning the following Autumn, subject to planning. Construction will likely take 15 months. Works are scheduled to be completed in Winter 2023.
Marina Promenade: Work is also due to start next year on the upgrade of the nearby Marina which will help integrate Marina Park, the upgraded Passage Railway Greenway with the Docklands and Blackrock Village.
The upgraded Marina Promenade, which was pedestrianised in the past 18 months, will include public lighting, hard and soft landscaping, dedicated pedestrian and cycle spaces, repairs to the quay walls, new seating and bike parking which will further encourage walking, running, and cycling which by providing attractive and safe spaces.
Passage Railway Greenway: Works have been underway since last Spring on the upgrading of the nearby Blackrock-Passage Railway Greenway Phase 1 ( Marina to Mahon). The Blackrock Station heritage footbridge is due to be re-instated across the greenway in the coming weeks. Phase 2 (Mahon to Passage) is currently being designed with construction to commence next year subject to planning consent.
This popular walking and cycling route is generally being widened from 3-5metres, new public lighting installed, an environmental ‘living corridor’ which encourages biodiversity planted and new access ramps from the Marina, Blackrock Rd, Skehard Road and Eden built. Phase 1 of the Blackrock-Passage greenway will fully re-open next summer with Phase 2 works to be complete the following year.
Monahan Road: The Monahan Road Extension will provide access to and facilitate the development of the former Ford Distribution Site which has planning permission for a 1,000 unit+ residential development.
The project will deliver a high-quality link for all road users, including dedicated infrastructure for pedestrians, cyclists and bus users in line with the recommendations of the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy and the Draft City Development Plan.