ALMOST €400,000 is to be invested in enhancing the public realm at Shandon.
The historic Firkin Crane is to enjoy a €360,000 makeover, including a new entrance and the installation of new motorised seating.
In addition, some €38,000 will be spent on a new European-style plaza at the Cork Butter Museum and the Firkin Crane, just below the iconic Shandon Bells.
The plaza work is funded by City Hall and the Department of Culture, while the Musgrave family is paying for the work at the Firkin Crane.
In addition to this investment, City Hall is also producing a visitor booklet to highlight the charms of the area in an effort to encourage locals and visitors to the city to visit the Shandon area.
Paving has been upgraded and five new benches installed at the plaza to encourage locals and visitors to enjoy the meandering charm of an area of the city that dates back to the 12th century.
And, the Firkin Crane theatre is also enjoying a €360,000 makeover with a new glazed entranceway, a full renovation of the Musgrave Theatre and the installation of new motorised seating.
Cork City Council’s tourism section has funded the plaza scheme while Cork City Council, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Musgrave family are funding the Firkin Crane renovation.
Lord Mayor, Cllr Tony Fitzgerald said: “Home to the ‘Four Faced Liar’ and to some of the city’s most historic laneways, Cork is close to the heart of every Corkonian.
It also has a growing reputation for the annual summer Shandon Street Festival, the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and the Dragon of Shandon Festival at Halloween so any public realm benefits should be enjoyed by the city’s festival goers”.
Local trader and member of the Shandon Area Renewal Association (SARA), Shandon Business Association and Tidy Towns, James Nolan said that the plaza “is making a huge difference to locals and to business”.
“It’s a lovely secluded spot with great views and so locals and tourists are making use of it, sitting down and soaking up the atmosphere and that means that they are spending money in nearby businesses”.
Firkin Crane CEO, Paul Mc Carthy said: “The renovations at the Firkin Crane are taking place in two parts but already our new light and airy entrance and foyer are spectacular. As part of the project, the Musgrave Theatre will also now be an exhibition space that all sectors of the community can come and experience a range of dance experiences every day”.
Shandon has been taking part in the Tidy Towns Competition for six years and recent investment in the area should benefit them in the competition, says James Nolan.
“Year on year, we have improved our marking in the Tidy Towns and no doubt this public realm improvement and tourism investment will help us further. In June, we have our annual Shandon Festival and we’re hoping to launch it from the new plaza and use the space as part of our events programme.
In addition to developing the plaza area, Cork City Council’s Tourism Section is also producing a visitor booklet highlighting the charms of Shandon.