It's time to revive Cork's historic laneways

It's time to revive Cork's historic laneways
A lane off Cork's North Main Street pictured in January 1965.

The Lord Mayor of Cork City has called for the council to breathe life back into the historic laneways at the heart of the city, which he said are a part of the fabric of Cork.

Cllr Mick Finn (Ind) has submitted a motion to the council asking that a plan is considered for the laneways off North Main Street.

Alice Coyle who lives with her husband and almost two year old daughter on St Patrick’s Avenue.
Alice Coyle who lives with her husband and almost two year old daughter on St Patrick’s Avenue.

He called for closures and gated lanes to be re-examined in cooperation with residents and businesses.

His motion comes weeks after The Echo highlighted calls from a resident of St Peter’s Avenue on North Main Street, to reopen the laneway to the public.

Alice Coyle who lives on the gated laneway said it is an integral part of Cork’s history and links Grattan Street to North Main Street for the public.

She added that reopening the laneway during the day and closing it at night would deter antisocial behaviour that had occurred.

Speaking to The Echo, the Lord Mayor said:

“Laneways traditionally were such a major part of Cork city, particularly if you look at Barrack Street and North Main Street.

“But many have been closed off and there have been people commenting that in any regeneration of the city, we should be looking at these laneways and seeing can we bring them back to good use.

“I think the council didn’t close them willy-nilly; they closed them after requests to do so.” Cllr Finn said that it is important that any reopened laneway does not fall foul of this behaviour again.

Broad Lane off North Main Street pictured in 1929.
Broad Lane off North Main Street pictured in 1929.

“I think it should be possible to regenerate the laneways around some of these streets and it’s important because they’re part of the fabric of Cork.

“If you look at Patrick Street, there’s Carey’s Lane, French Church Street and Opera lane, all lanes that are used and vibrant,” he added.

“If we are regenerating North Main Street, and there are plans for that, hopefully we can incorporate putting life back into those old laneways because they are a part of who we are.” The motion has been referred to the Roads & Transportation Functional Committee.

The Lord Mayor said he will await reports to see if there is an overall strategy planned for the North Main Street area.

“There are a number of developments planned for the area, including student apartments, residential developments and the possibility of a hotel.

Broad Lane off the North Main Street. Picture: Richard Mills.
Broad Lane off the North Main Street. Picture: Richard Mills.

“I think that if we can make these areas living streets with shop fronts as well as residential areas, it would be a huge asset to the area.

“There are plans for the street and this regeneration of laneways could be looked at in conjunction, almost like a local development plan for North Main Street, where we can tack on a few smaller developments to other developments.”

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