Demolition work gets under way in Swords this week to pave the way for the new €26 million Swords Cultural Quarter.
Consent was sought from the National Monuments Service to knock derelict buildings on North Street which block views of the castle.
Fingal County Council has set a completion date of mid-2024 for the ambitious SCQ project, which will see a new civic plaza set against the backdrop of Swords Castle.
Posting on Facebook, Cllr Joe Newman (Ind) said: “While it is always sad to see old buildings demolished, this work will facilitate the creation of a space and a public realm.
“This public realm will link Swords Castle to the new library and theatre and generate more activity at the north end of Swords, including tourism.
“I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and applaud the council for having the foresight and determination to progress this project.
“I will continue to offer my support for this development on behalf of the people of Swords.”
The local authority is expected to appoint a project management team this Summer to appoint a full design panel by the end of 2019.
The scheme will go to public consultation next year with the aim of securing final planning approval by the end of 2020.
Preparatory work has already been undertaken and site investigation at the junction of Seatown Road and North Street is being carried out to determine the design for the main cultural centre.
Planners envisage a modern streetscape with echoes of Swords’ market town past which will transform the town centre with an elongated civic square linking the old with the new.
The project seeks to link County Hall, Swords Castle, and the Town Park at one end of the Cultural Quarter through to the courthouse and on to two brand-new buildings – a civic and cultural centre and a community hub building.