Cork city councillor gives update on Bishop Lucey Park redevelopment  

Cork city councillor gives update on Bishop Lucey Park redevelopment  
Hall McKnight's winning design treats the city's historic medieval wall as one of the main features of the park and maintains the existing archway. Image Credit: Hall McKnight Architects

Speaking to The Echo, historian and Independent Councillor Kieran McCarthy said he attended the first discussion at City Council’s Environment Strategic Policy Committee yesterday evening to discuss the redevelopment of the city centre park.

"They’re hoping it would go to Part 8, public consultation, in the autumn/winter of this year and building in the spring/summer of next year," said Mr McCarthy. 

"That’s being ambitious.

"The money is coming from the Urban Redevelopment Fund so the funding is there it’s just a case of using the money," he added. 

Last month, Cork City Council and the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) announced the winning architectural design of the competition to redevelop Bishop Lucey Park.

The winning entry is by Belfast firm Hall McKnight Architects. 

Image Credit: Hall McKnight Architects
Image Credit: Hall McKnight Architects

Mr McCarthy said that whilst he is "impressed" by the winning design, he would like to see some changes made to better incorporate the city's history.

"I was impressed by the winning entry. 

"There are just a few things there that could weave more into Cork’s history a little bit and Cork’s archaeology," he said. 

"There is a proposal to put in a number of features within the park.

"One is a pavilion tower, which was going to be by South Main Street and I articulated that in 1984 when they were landscaping for the park they found one of the medieval towers, one of the sixteen towers that were around the wall of the medieval town. 

"They found the foundations of a castle that was called Hopewell Castle and I was saying it might be nice to have the tower on the shadow of Hopewell Castle because that castle disappeared overnight or something happened to it that it was bulldozed and there’s only one photograph that has survived the test of time," Mr McCarthy said.

"Some people have approached me to say that the fountain with the eight swans with each representing 100 years since the granting of the first charter should be kept. I raised the point but I'm also open to other stories being told."

Mr McCarthy also spoke about the red stone material which featured in the winning design.

Image Credit: Hall McKnight Architects
Image Credit: Hall McKnight Architects

"The red patio feeling was meant to connect to the stone colour of the old town wall. 

"The wall that was around South Main Street was made out of limestone and the wall around North Main Street was made out of sandstone, hence the red and white colour of the city that emerged in terms of the Cork flag.

"Something like white limestone more than the red would connect more to the symbolism of the walled town," he said.

Mr McCarthy expressed the view that he would like to see a lot of the trees retained when the park is redeveloped and a niche section or playground for children. 

"The architects' office that was present at the meeting last night noted all of that and will try to do their best," he said.

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