19 December 2021
By Tom Collins
Three more Cork streets have been unveiled as bespoke outdoor dining destinations following the installation of Failte Ireland-funded infrastructure that will further enhance the city’s outdoor dining experience.
Union Quay, Caroline Street and Beasley Street have been architecturally re-modelled to support outdoor hospitality while incorporating the unique personality of each street. Parasols, awnings, trees, festoon lighting, windbreaks, heaters and purpose-built planters have been installed.
- Union Quay: 16 parasols similar to those on Princes Street. Each premises has a unique colour parasol and windbreaker. Festoon lighting above the parasols. Improved pedestrian access, inclusive of wheelchair access and improved resurfaced road surface.
- Caroline Street: Awnings, parasols, festoon lighting, 11 mature silver birch trees, bespoke windbreak/ planter units with age-friendly seating.
- Beasley Street: Larger awnings, festoon lighting along the centre of the street, giant umbrellas and parasols.
This year, tens of thousands of visitors to the city availed themselves of the weatherproofed dining facilities at restaurants and bars on Princes Street. Similar works will be completed on Pembroke Street in the coming months.
Architects were engaged to design streetscapes and an improved city centre experience. The architects worked closely with Cork City Council and the traders on each street to develop their designs. Princes Street, Beasley Street, Pembroke Street and Union Quay are designed by Cork-based Meitheal Architects while local architectural firm, Carr, Cotter and Naessens designed the Caroline Street scheme.
The all-season infrastructure, made possible by €1.3 million in funding from Fáilte Ireland, is designed to last a minimum of five years. Some of the bespoke infrastructure is being locally fabricated by Cork based businesses such as Euroforce Engineering and Acme Blind Design.
Officially opening the new-look streets, Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Mary Rose Desmond said:
“We have all seen how successful Princes Street has been since it was unveiled as the country’s most famous street for outdoor dining. The thoughtful and attractive design of these streetscapes will help to make outdoor eating and drinking more appealing and comfortable during this festive period and the rest of the winter – a winter which unfortunately is once more marked by uncertainty.
“These new streetscapes are also another visual demonstration of how the pandemic has changed our relationships with our streets and our public realm and how our city’s traders have embraced this with gusto over the past 20 months. We have to salute their determination and creativity, as they worked with Cork City Council, to achieve funding for these projects,”
Head of Ireland’s Ancient East at Fáilte Ireland, Brian O’Flynn said:
“It is fantastic to see the Cork City centre outdoor dining infrastructure, which was funded by Fáilte Ireland’s Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme and developed in partnership with Cork City Council, nearing completion, and being so well received by trade and visitors alike”.
“The scale of the development shows the City Council’s ambition to transform the city centre and ensuring it is a safe, modern and desirable place to visit. Outdoor dining will be a permanent feature of our tourism and hospitality offering post-COVID, and structures like these allow visitors to access outdoor dining options for longer periods of the year, helping businesses towards sustainable recovery “.
This is one of the largest projects being delivered under Fáilte Ireland’s Outdoor Dining Scheme, under which 19 Local Authorities are delivering outdoor dining facilities across 39 different locations.
Cork City Council CE, Ann Doherty said:
“With the support of government departments and state agencies, Cork City Council is implementing an ambitious and transformative plan for Cork city centre”.
The weatherproofing of the city’s outdoor dining offering is one of a number of initiatives implemented by Cork City Council since the beginning of the pandemic. Pedestrianisation of the city centre, provision of more cycleways and walking routes, supporting the Ardú street art trail and the installation of parklets have all combined to greatly enhance the experience of the city: this programme of works, ‘Reimagining Cork’ and wider urban regeneration in the city centre are aimed at positioning Cork as an attractive European city.
“We want to thank all our stakeholders and in particular businesses and communities across the city who have shown and continue to show considerable resilience, agility and ambition. This is at the core of what makes our city a great place to live, work, visit and invest in,” she said.