A park for the people
The Haulbowline Island Recreational Amenity in the heart of Cork Harbour has been officially opened.
The extensive remediation of the site saw the delivery onto the island of over 15,000 HGV loads of material, 47,000 tonnes of rock armour material to protect the shoreline, 180,000 tonnes of subsoil and 37,000 tonnes of topsoil, transforming the site into the scenic landscaped recreational amenity it is today.
Complete with 4kms of fully accessible pathways, a 1km jogging circuit, playing pitches and seating areas that lend themselves to remarkable views of the harbour and wildlife observation, the island has hundreds of native tree mixes and plants to promote biodiversity.
In the largest project of its kind to date in Ireland, the Haulbowline Remediation by Cork County Council has transformed the former East Tip site into a 22 acre People’s Park.
It was officially opened by Mayor of the County of Cork Cllr Gillian Coughlan, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Minister for Defence Simon Coveney and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath.
Mayor of the County of Cork Cllr Gillian Coughlan said: “The remediation of the East Tip was always going to be challenging. Cork County Council, with funding from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and in collaboration with a range of stakeholders, including local residents, have risen to that challenge with phenomenal success.”
Speaking at the opening An Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: “The People’s Park Haulbowline is a pearl among a string of initiatives which do justice to the second largest harbour in the world. The development of the harbour as a tourist amenity will provide immense dividends, in terms of employment and leisure, to both the local community and visitors from far and wide.”
Haulbowline, home to the headquarters of the Irish Naval Service, was also formerly the location of Ireland’s only steelworks from 1939 until its closure in 2001. 650,000 cubic metres of by-products from the steel production was deposited there over a 40 year period.
Minister for Defence Simon Coveney said on Saturday: “Today marks a real turning point in the story of the Islands remediation to an area of real civic worth to the community and also as a suitable home to our naval service.”
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath said: “This park is another step towards the fulfilment of the immense potential of the harbour area as a tourist and amenity hub, and will complement the tourist attractions such as Spike Island and at Camden Fort Meagher.”
Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey, said: “A huge undertaking, this remediation project is of national and international importance. Its remarkable success clearly demonstrates the importance of collaboration and public engagement.”