‘A wonderful, valuable addition to the city’: Taoiseach officially opens first phase of Cork’s newest park

Marina Park will be six times larger than Fitzgerald’s Park and equivalent in size to Dublin Zoo when phase two is completed.
‘A wonderful, valuable addition to the city’: Taoiseach officially opens first phase of Cork’s newest park

Ciara and Sophia Crowe, Ballintemple after having their face painted at a family fun day for the officially opening of phase one of Marina Park, Cork.Photo Darragh Kane

THERE was a jovial atmosphere in the Ballintemple area this morning as Taoiseach Micheál Martin officially opened the first phase of Cork’s new Marina Park, which he described as “a wonderful, valuable addition to the amenities of our city and wider region”.

Marina Park will be six times larger than Fitzgerald’s Park and equivalent in size to Dublin Zoo when phase two is completed.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin planting flowers with the Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Colm Kelleher and students from Ballintemple National School at a family fun day for the official opening of phase one of Marina Park, Cork. Photo: Darragh Kane
Taoiseach Micheál Martin planting flowers with the Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Colm Kelleher and students from Ballintemple National School at a family fun day for the official opening of phase one of Marina Park, Cork. Photo: Darragh Kane

Speaking at the event, Mr Martin recounted times spent walking the area in his youth and lauded the transformation that has occurred.

“It [the park] will become the jewel in the crown,” Mr Martin said.

“It’s a bit of a personal journey for me. This location is historic.

Cormac Mohally, Circus Factory and Katie Schlede, Ballincollig playing Hula Hoop at a family fun day for the officially opening of phase one of Marina Park, Cork.Photo Darragh Kane
Cormac Mohally, Circus Factory and Katie Schlede, Ballincollig playing Hula Hoop at a family fun day for the officially opening of phase one of Marina Park, Cork.Photo Darragh Kane

“When I was a young boy, the age of some of the kids here, we came down these roads, Monahan Road, Centre Park Road, if you were going to a match in the old athletic grounds which was nothing like Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

“The whole way down, your memory was of black tar or black pathways, black water, in terms of coal and everything else and the industry. For me, many, many, decades on it is just transformative what has happened here,” he said.

Emma Galvin, Blackrock at a family fun day for the officially opening of phase one of Marina Park, Cork.Photo Darragh Kane
Emma Galvin, Blackrock at a family fun day for the officially opening of phase one of Marina Park, Cork.Photo Darragh Kane

Meanwhile, Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Colm Kelleher said the new park will be the “playground” of the Docklands.

Going forward, Mr Kelleher said the park will form “a key linkage between the city centre through Docklands and for the communities, businesses and workers on the Mahon peninsula and further afield including Rochestown, Maryborough, and Passage West”.

Jimmy Bray, Gabriel Rossi and Cormac Mohally from the Circus Factory performing at a family fun day for the officially opening of phase one of Marina Park, Cork.Photo Darragh Kane
Jimmy Bray, Gabriel Rossi and Cormac Mohally from the Circus Factory performing at a family fun day for the officially opening of phase one of Marina Park, Cork.Photo Darragh Kane

The second phase of the Marina Park project is due to go to public consultation later this summer.

Phase two will extend from the Atlantic Pond to Church Avenue and will include the so-called ‘nature’ zone of the park, accommodating picnic areas, boating facilities, adventure play areas, preserved marshland zone, and several architectural heritage sites.

Katelyn O’Connor, Carrignavar at a family fun day for the officially opening of phase one of Marina Park, Cork.Photo Darragh Kane
Katelyn O’Connor, Carrignavar at a family fun day for the officially opening of phase one of Marina Park, Cork.Photo Darragh Kane

Chief executive of Cork City Council Ann Doherty said, once completed, the park will be 70 acres in size, ideally located just 2.5km from the city centre.

She added that the city council believes that by developing a regional eco-park first, the council is “enabling Cork Docklands to fulfill its potential as one of the best places in Europe to live and work”.

Tom Mehigan, Blackrock enjoying a water feature at a family fun day for the officially opening of phase one of Marina Park, Cork.
Tom Mehigan, Blackrock enjoying a water feature at a family fun day for the officially opening of phase one of Marina Park, Cork.

As part of the ceremony, the Taoiseach helped plant an Irish native tree while pupils from Ballintemple National School, St Michael’s Church of Ireland National School, and Scoil na Croise Naofa planted pollinator plants.

To celebrate the official opening, a sustainability-themed morning of acrobatics, sport, play, and music was organised.

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