Monday 10 December 2018

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Events centre site 'must preserve heritage'

Wednesday, 10th January, 2018 5:10pm

A Cork City councillor has spoken out about the need to preserve the heritage of the proposed events centre site after new archaeological discoveries there.

It was revealed this week in a new report that late Viking-era discoveries had been made on the former Beamish & Crawford site. These included stone foundations representing approximately two thirds of the St Laurence’s Church and an urban layout of foundations of timber houses with dendrochronological (tree ring) dates to 1070 AD.

The report notes that changes to the planned foundations of the proposed development may be necessary, stating that “amendments to the foundation design for the current proposal will be necessary".

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy, a member of the Strategic Planning, Economic Development and Enterprise Functional Committee on Cork City Council, who requested the report, said the new discoveries were indicative of discussions which should take place over the city’s approach to its heritage going forward.

“I’m conscious of the significance of what’s been found not just on this site, but across the road in the Grand Parade carpark, the former Sir Henry’s nightclub site, Tuckey Street, Hanover Street, Washington Street, over the last number of years,” Cllr McCarthy said.

“I want the site to preserve the heritage of where Cork came from. There’s a great story to be told, and I’m just pushing for it to be done so. I want that knowledge to be harnessed, as it is in places like Waterford and Dublin.”

Cllr McCarthy said he was disappointed that the future of any possible exhibition or heritage site on the events centre site appeared less certain than before, the new report noting a “willingness to see some form of cultural heritage exhibition” on the site.

Cllr McCarthy said he realised the importance of the events centre itself but didn’t want the new archaeological finds to be forgotten about, citing the failure to accurately preserve other similar spaces found in the last number of years.

“I just think we need to change our approach to how we showcase this material. I think we can do more with it. We have a good museum, good archaeological and heritage officers in the City Council, but I’m pushing for us to tell the story in a better way,” he finished.

The first public lecture on the findings from the site will be to the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society on 7 February at the Crawford Gallery. The report details a planned exhibition at Cork Public Museum later in 2018.

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