Master plan for cultural quarter

by Gazette Reporter

A RANGE of projects for the planned Swords Cultural Quarter centred around Swords Castle has been announced by Fingal County Council.
The council has commissioned a master plan for the cultural quarter, which features projects to include new major central public and civic space outside Swords Castle, a new library-civic centre building to sit alongside County Hall, new landscape interventions in the park and the town, and the creation of a hub or cultural quarter on North Street-Main Street.
A number of projects has already been undertaken as part of the conservation plan for Swords Castle.
The plan, which was announced late last year, identifies actions to take the castle into the future and ensure its conservation.
Some of the projects undertaken so far include the stabilisation of the gatehouse, a safety audit and works carried out to allow the public to safely access the castle, new panels displaying information that incorporate information about the conservation plan.
Other projects include surveys that identified some sub surfaces in the central area that are regarded as warranting excavation.
Should excavation work take place, the public will be kept up to date with the process.
A design team has been procured to start work associated with the reconstruction of the vault over the main entrance and a programme of ivy removal has just begun.
Residents, stakeholders and local representatives have been waiting for these projects for a number of years now and it is hoped that they will help to boost tourism, bring more trade to the main street and revitalise the entire area.
Fingal chief executive Paul Reid said: “This new development will provide a civic and cultural space, which will benefit citizens, the business community and visitors.”
Cllr Darragh Butler (FF) welcomed the announcement saying: “I really am delighted to see great progress being made with regards to Swords Castle and the cultural quarter.
“Swords Castle and Swords Main Street were two big issues when knocking on doors this time last year before the council and European elections.”
He went on to commend the council for the time and effort put into these plans, saying it was “simply fantastic to think what might be when these are completed”.
He added: “It is estimated that 3,000 people took the opportunity to see inside the castle grounds and inside the refurbished chapel on St Patrick’s Day, and I look forward to the castle being opened up again to Swords residents and visitors over the summer months.”
Cllr Anne Devitt (Ind) also welcomed the plans. She said: “I am absolutely delighted that the pressure that Swords councillors have put on the management has been responded to in such a positive way.”
She said she was cautiously optimistic because plans like these had been made before and never implemented.
She said she had faith in Paul Reid’s commitment to the projects.
The Swords Masterplan Report can be viewed on the council’s website at www.fingal.ie/planning-and-buildings.

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