Following on from the commencement of the Beamish & Crawford Quarter and Bishop Lucey Park works, Cork City Council has confirmed that construction will begin in the coming weeks on another transformational scheme in the city centre, the Morrison’s Island Public Realm and Flood Defence project.

Jones Civil Engineering Company Ltd have been appointed as main contractor to carry out the works.

The project, supported by the Office of Public Works (OPW), will encompass the area along Morrison’s Quay and Father Mathew Quay between Parnell Bridge and Parliament Bridge, as well as a small section on Union Quay at Trinity Bridge.

It will deliver:

  • High quality upgraded and accessible streetscape with new footpaths, public seating, new plaza space and river viewing platform at Parnell Bridge, and public space at Trinity Bridge, as well as improved public realm at Holy Trinity Church; 
  • Integrated flood defences which will provide protection against one in 100-year tidal flooding events for about 400 city centre properties;
  • A new three-metre-wide riverside promenade along the length of Morrison’s Quay and Father Mathew Quay;
  • Rerouted traffic movement and reduced parking, to facilitate significant improvements for pedestrians, wheelchair users, and cyclists, including the provision of cycle parking;
  • Refurbished and strengthened quay walls to ensure long term integrity;
  • Public realm improvements at the entrances to Trinity Bridge (at Cork College of Further Education & Training), including new public seating;
  • Refurbished and enhanced heritage features, including street lamps and bollards;
  • Enhanced views of, and access to, the River Lee;
  • Enhanced planting including trees and pollinator-friendly herbaceous plants.

Ann Doherty, chief executive of Cork City Council, said: “This scheme will transform the Morrison’s Island area of the city and provide much needed flood protection to hundreds of residents and businesses. This south-facing riverside area has so much more to offer and Cork City Council, with the support of the OPW, is unlocking that potential, providing for the revitalisation and regeneration of this part of the city centre”.

Aaron Mansworth, president of the Cork Business Association (CBA), described the project as “transformative for Morrison’s Island and the entire city”. 

Unlock commercial potential

“This scheme will significantly enhance visual amenity and unlock commercial potential, highlighted by the multimillion-euro redevelopment of the Old Moore’s Hotel site which is now home to Premier Inn, Cork’s newest hotel offering," he said.

"Crucially, it will provide essential flood protection long campaigned for by CBA, reassuring property owners and businesses by safeguarding their premises and livelihoods.

"The project includes a significant public realm upgrade and the refurbishment of historic quay walls, protecting the majority of the city centre against major flood events and greatly benefiting the business community. In these challenging times, the reassurance of flood protection is a highly positive and welcome development.” 

Conor Healy, chief executive of Cork Chamber, said: “Climate adaption is crucial to the further prosperity of Cork. We have seen as recently as last October the devastation flooding can bring to our region, inhabitants and businesses.

"The commencement of the Morrison’s Island Public Realm and Flood Protection Scheme is wholeheartedly welcomed by Cork Chamber after many years advocacy.

"Our city centre businesses and residents deserve the protection from flooding that the scheme will provide. Through the delivery of this scheme, the city will also benefit from the enhancement of the public realm through river front walkways, the introduction of plazas, repairs to historic masonry; all of which are improvements that will help enable a positive evolution of our urban landscape in Cork city.” 

The first phase of the scheme’s construction will take place at the junction of Morrison’s Quay and South Mall, delivering an enhanced plaza area and riverside viewing platform.  To facilitate the works, some local traffic diversions will be in place. Local access and pedestrian and cycling access will remain.   

The scheme is expected to be completed within about 20 months. Construction will begin later this month, in July 2024.