Grafton Architects tasked with assessing the development potential of the Tullamore site
Thursday, 10th November 2022
Waterways Ireland and Offaly County Council have today (10.11.22) signed a contract with Grafton Architects for the Grand Canal Harbour masterplan project, heralding the commencement of work envisioning future redevelopment of a 200-year old harbour in the centre of Tullamore. The contract was signed by Waterways Ireland Regional Manager, Garret McGrath, Chief Executive of Offaly County Council, Anna Marie Delaney and Kieran O'Brien, Director of Grafton Architects, in the presence of Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O'Brien TD.
The €200,000 project will assess the development potential of the Grand Canal Harbour site in Tullamore, Co Offaly, as well as the adjacent Young's Store on Convent Road. Under the project, Grafton Architects will prepare development options for the site and a viability appraisal. They will then prepare a masterplan following direction from the Waterways Ireland and Offaly County Council project management team on the preferred option.
The project is funded through an Urban Regeneration & Development Fund award of €150,000 from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, and funding of €25,000 each from Waterways Ireland and Offaly County Council.
Minister Darragh O'Brien said: "The Urban Regeneration and Development Fund is all about delivering compact and sustainable development in towns and cities across the country to ensure that more of our urban areas become attractive and vibrant areas in which to live, work, visit and invest. I am delighted to be able to provide funding to assess the development potential of the Grand Canal Harbour site in Tullamore and I look forward to seeing what can be done to restore this heritage gem to a social and economic enabler for the town and the region."
The 3.7-acre Grand Canal Tullamore Harbour site has 2.2 acres of development opportunity, which includes the canal basin. Of the 2.2 acres, two acres are owned by Waterways Ireland, with the remainder owned by Offaly County Council and licensed to Waterways Ireland. Young's Store is a three-storey former warehouse, which is owned by Waterways Ireland.
Waterways Ireland has used the harbour site as an operational depot for lock-gate manufacture and mechanical services since 1999. It is now relocating its operations to a new location adjacent to the Grand Canal outside of the town.
Commenting, Waterways Ireland Regional Manager, Garret McGrath said: "The harbour is located within the oldest heritage quarter of the town and in the early 19th century was a bustling trading location along the Grand Canal, linking Dublin to the Midlands and the west of Ireland. With the demise in use of canals for trading and their subsequent development mainly for recreational boating, the harbour area became the centre for lock-gate manufacture and mechanical workshops for the inland waterways. While it has been a vital part of Waterways Ireland's operations over the past number of years, the relocation of our operations unlocks the opportunity to redevelop the site, reinstating it as an integral part of the town, with the potential to, once again, become a bustling waterfront space for residents, visitors, and business alike. I am excited to see what can be done with this site and how our wonderful waterways can be further utilised for the benefit of not just the town, but the entire region."
Chief Executive of Offaly County Council, Anna Marie Delaney added: "Our vision for Offaly is one of sustainable economic, social and community development – resulting in a county that is an attractive place to live, work in or visit. The Grand Canal Harbour masterplan project is another step in that direction. The site is a key location within the town, just a short walk from the town centre, and provides excellent waterway and canal bank access to the Grand Canal. I am really excited to see what can be done to reintegrate this area into the town and to see how it can once again become a focal point, boosting economic and recreation potential for the town of Tullamore, the county of Offaly and the wider region."
The masterplan is due to be presented in mid-2023.
Contact: Katrina Mc Girr, Waterways Ireland, Tel: 087-9918412, email: firstname.lastname@example.org / Joanne Ahern, DHR Communications, Tel: 087-9881837.
Contact: Orla Martin, Local Enterprise Office Offaly, Tel: 086-6478022, email email@example.com
Notes for Editors:
· Garret McGrath is available for interview, on request.
· Anna-Marie Delaney is available for interview, on request.
Katrina Mc Girr will issue pictures to photo desks this afternoon.