Cork’s pedestrianisation plan is working.
While the buzz on Princes Street has been well documented, now traders on Oliver Plunkett Street have spoken out to laud the move by Cork City Council as a ‘life saver’.
Tracey Sweeney, co-owner of the Market Lane Group, which operates three restaurants on the street says the addition of permanent outdoor seating has helped the business regain 30% of the covers they had pre-Covid, albeit when the weather is accommodating.
“This not only helps us recover as a business but creates new, exciting opportunities, particularly for smaller traders on the street, that simply didn’t exist before,” said Sweeney.
“It really helps us future proof our businesses, as we think that the move to outdoor dining is becoming more and more important to cater to.”
As well as its mothership, Market Lane Restaurant, the group has Goldie and Elbow Lane restaurants on Oliver Plunkett Street. Due to the support of non-hospitality businesses, restaurants have been able to use the footpaths and loading bays outside other shops on the street when they are closed for business.
“This generosity has also bound us together as a neighborhood,” adds Sweeney.
“There is a palpable sense of hope and enthusiasm amongst traders that with enhanced pedestrianisation, Oliver Plunkett St will continue to be a real destination for locals and tourists alike. This is a huge bonus for the inner city.”
This enthusiasm has been heightened by the recent announcement that Cork City Council has gone out to tender for the development of the adjoining Beasley Street, one of the few fully cobbled streets left in Cork city. Plans for the quarter now include a music and literary stage, food trucks and stalls, vegetable and herb plots.