Nostalgia: The Atlantic Pond's history is a story of 'innovation and forward-thinking'

Nostalgia: The Atlantic Pond's history is a story of 'innovation and forward-thinking'

Atlantic Pond, pictured in August 1989.

THE Atlantic Pond and the Marina have hit the headlines for numerous reasons in recent days.

Earlier this week, Fine Gael councillor Des Cahill said he believed the Marina, which was pedestrianised earlier this year amid the Covid-19 pandemic, is likely to remain closed to vehicles permanently.

"It’s going to be pedestrianised now until the end of December and I can’t see it ever being open to cars again," he told The Echo.

The Marina pictured in 1931. 
The Marina pictured in 1931. 

Meanwhile, news of a new Sunday market to be located on part of the old Ford Factory in the heart of the Marina also broke this week.

The "cosmopolitan continental style" market is expected to open on September 20. 

At the Atlantic Pond, further concerns were raised about the broken tidal gate which has caused flooding at the popular amenity. 
Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy told The Echo that Cork City Council has applied to central government for emergency funding to assist with the costly repair job. 

Mr McCarthy lauded the Atlantic Pond as "one of the city’s greatest engineering projects of early nineteenth-century Cork" - its story "one of innovation and forward-thinking". 

Crowds wait for the cross-river ferry at the Marina after a GAA match at the Cork Athletic Grounds in 1959.
Crowds wait for the cross-river ferry at the Marina after a GAA match at the Cork Athletic Grounds in 1959.

"In 1843, City engineer Edward Russell was commissioned to present plans for the reclamation of the south sloblands, some 230 acres extending from Victoria Road to the riverfront with the proposed aim of creating an enormous public park and some building ground.

"The task proposed was epic as the slobland undulated and when the tide was in, various areas of the slobland were more solid than others," Mr McCarthy explained. 

View of the Marina and Tivoli. Atlantic Pond and Cork Showgrounds on right, 1952. 
View of the Marina and Tivoli. Atlantic Pond and Cork Showgrounds on right, 1952. 

"Edward Russell’s eventual published plan in December 1843 proposed the extension and widening of the dock like Navigation Wall creating the Marina Walk, to manage the flow of tidal water entering the land by installing sluice gates, sluice tunnels and embankments.

"Edward’s proposal for further reclamation of the South Sloblands did happen as well as the construction of a holding pond – a reservoir of six acres in size with sheeting piles driven in underneath it and possesses ornamental features to the general public. 

Scouts from the 7th Cork (St. Finbarr's Doyle Road) photographed feeding the ducks at the Atlantic Pond during their hike to the Observatory at Blackrock Castle, 2007. Picture: Jim Goulding.
Scouts from the 7th Cork (St. Finbarr's Doyle Road) photographed feeding the ducks at the Atlantic Pond during their hike to the Observatory at Blackrock Castle, 2007. Picture: Jim Goulding.

"The latter became known as the Atlantic Pond and still possesses its Victorian sluice gates and tunnels to facilitate the drainage and exclusion of water.

"The Great Famine and post-economic fall-out took away the opportunity for the public park but in 1869 after twenty years of further drainage and land reclamation, businessman John Arnott leased the south sloblands from Cork Corporation and it was converted into the Cork City Park Race Course. 

"In 1917 the heart of its space was converted into the Ford Tractor Manufacturing Plant but the central road of the racecourse was retained – Centre Park Road," he continued. 

At the launch of McCarthy's Make a Model Boat project, 2009, at the Atlantic Pond; /L-R, Padraig Dineen, Meitheal Mara, Malcolm Muggeridge, Katie Stoker-Phelan, Isabelle Muggeridge, Nigel Muggeridge, Shane Stoker-Phelan & Cllr Kieran McCarthy. Picture: Audrey Furney-Kelly. 
At the launch of McCarthy's Make a Model Boat project, 2009, at the Atlantic Pond; /L-R, Padraig Dineen, Meitheal Mara, Malcolm Muggeridge, Katie Stoker-Phelan, Isabelle Muggeridge, Nigel Muggeridge, Shane Stoker-Phelan & Cllr Kieran McCarthy. Picture: Audrey Furney-Kelly. 

Throughout the decades, the Atlantic Pond has remained a much-cherished city spot and continues to be loved by younger and older generations alike.

Since the outbreak of Covid, like many open spaces, the Atlantic Pond and the Marina have seen an increase in day to day usage and have stood out as an oasis in the heart of suburban living.

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