The design is currently being finalised.
In early 2021, a works contractor will be on-site to begin Cork City Council’s plan to revive and regenerate the flood-prone Morrison’s Island quays in Cork City Centre.
“The Morrison’s Island project represents an outstanding opportunity to bring about comprehensive regeneration of this historic area following An Bord Pleanála’s recent granting of approval for extensive public realm improvements and flood defence works.” said a Council spokesperson.
“The project will be delivered along Morrison’s Quay and Fr. Matthew Quay between Parliament Bridge and Parnell Bridge. Currently, these quays are ineffective public spaces, primarily used for car parking, and are underutilised as a riverside amenity. As the lowest-lying quays in the city centre, they are the source of regular tidal flooding that has a major impact on business and properties within the centre island.”
The scheme aims to capitalise on the quay’s south-facing aspect, by creating a high-quality public realm and opening up the views of the River Lee.
A new promenade, plaza and bridge
The upgraded streetscape, which will be co-funded by the Office of Public Works (OPW), will incorporate a wide riverside promenade, a much-improved setting for the impressive Holy Trinity Church, a plaza area at the eastern end of the South Mall and a redesigned Trinity Bridge crossing to Union Quay. As part of the project, changes will also be made to traffic movements, car parking will be reduced, and additional bicycle parking will be provided.
A new video on the project is available to watch here.
“In addition to the public realm investment, other critical aspects of the project are the construction of flood defences, changes to the surface water drainage system and remedial works to the existing quay walls. These quays are frequently inundated by tidal flooding, and the defence works will bring much-needed reassurance to City Centre businesses. In addition, the historic cut limestone quay walls will be refurbished to ensure their long-term integrity by repairing, cleaning and re-pointing in-situ.” added the spokesperson.
The Save Cork City group has opposed the project for years, offering an alternative plan for a tidal barrier at Little Island that they say would to protect the city from the threat of major flooding.
The group’s alternate proposal included the “repair of all quay walls and landscapes of the historic river channels of the city, giving particular attention to national and international guidelines for design in historic places”.
A legal challenge was mounted in 2018 but the project was later approved by An Bord Pleanála after the plans received the green light from a senior ecologist.
‘It will be transformative for the city’
” The impact of this scheme, when completed, will be transformative for the city adding both to the visual amenity and helping to unlock the commercial potential of the area,” said Lawrence Owens, CEO of Cork Business Association.
“It will deliver first and foremost critically needed flood protection which the CBA has been long campaigning for. It will also encompass a significant Public Realm upgrade and see works commence on the refurbishment of our historic quay walls.
“The risk of flooding is forever on the mind of property owners in Cork city and in this extremely challenging time for businesses to have the reassurance that their premises and livelihoods will be protected from flooding is a highly positive and welcome development’.”