An idea of what could be proposed for Elizabeth Fort. Drawing from a City Hall report.

Elizabeth Fort plans 'exciting'

Elizabeth Fort’s outdoor area is set to be adapted and improved with a new stage structure and seating in proposed plans for it.

The early 17th century stone bastioned fort has been, in recent years, used as a venue for outdoor theatrical and musical performances, workshops and other events and plans are in motion to improve the experience.

It comes following approval of €250,000 from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media for the project which is not to compromise its current use as a visitor attraction.

Matching funding from Cork City Council of at least €27,777 is also required for the project.

In a report given to councillors, and seen by the Cork Independent, it said archaeologist and conservation officers from City Hall will be involved throughout the process and relevant works will be overseen on site by appropriately qualified and experienced building conservation professionals.

The project is due to be finalised over the next few weeks and it will then go out to public consultation.

However, Cork City Council architects, the report said, have designed an outline scheme which has been informed by engagement with arts professionals as well as conservation and archaeology staff in City Hall.

The key elements of the proposed scheme include:

• A timber frame stage structure with removable waterproof covering

• Electrical upgrade works which will allow for new power outlets around the fort

• Retrofit seating to the existing stone upstand around the perimeter planting area

• Improved planting scheme to the perimeter green areas

• Resurfacing of the main area which includes removal of existing concrete/tarmac and replaced with self-binding golden grit, subject to available funding

The report said lighting solutions are also being considered as well as improvements to a vacant building so it can be used as a green room.

Fearghal Reidy, Director of Strategic and Economic Development, said in the report: “In addition to supporting its use as an arts and cultural space, the proposed new planting, surface areas and seating within the main parade area will also enhance its offering as an amenity to the general public as a welcoming, relaxing, peaceful place to visit in the heart of the city.”

Historian and Cork City Councillor Kieran McCarthy spoke about the proposed project during Monday’s Cork City Council meeting: “The plans are really exciting, and the stage proposal looks really, really well. I look forward to seeing what in the public consultation in the weeks to come.”

Green Party Cllr Dan Boyle, while welcoming the proposed improvements and agreed with Cllr McCarthy that it was very exciting, said however that to maximise Elizabeth Fort’s potential the outside could be improved too like access to it and its perimeter wall.

“If we can give consideration to this as a council I think we can maximise the potential of the Government funding we’re receiving,” added Cllr Boyle.