Ennis developments and built environment

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    • #709733
      modular man

      This is interesting.
      It says that O Connell Street in Ennis is one of the 60 great public spaces in the world. The Ramblas of the west.
      Any comments?

    • #796364

      I think it could be further improved if it was pedestrianised Local businesses are hugely against this I believe.

      It is one of the few almost medieval but yet modern main streets in Ireland.

      Ennis is a wonderful town that has come on leaps and bounds over the last ten years. Its by pass (main Limerick to Galway road) and eastern by-pass are both due to open next year.

      Top buildings:
      Ennis Courthouse (with Eamon DeValera statue)
      Ennis Abbey (ruin)
      Ennis Friary (still in use)
      Old convent chapel- now a hotel conference room) http://www.templegatehotel.com/wed.html
      Glor Irish Music Centre- excelletn addition the town
      Mills- particularly restored
      New apartments on Mill Road in old mills- one of the best conservation projects I have seen.
      Bishops Palace (and caravans in lawn!)
      Guarda station
      Old Ground Hotel
      Ennis Cathedral
      St Flannans College
      Former Colaiste Muire (beautiful town house)
      Georgian street near methodist church
      The former Our Lady’s hospital
      Ennis General Hospital
      Train station
      Parnell St

    • #796365

      Nice to see Ireland featuring in a list of great world places, but it strikes me that this is a list of world places in the same way as the Superbowl is the World Championship of American Football. Probably some guy from PPS who spent a weekend in Ennis and had a nice dinner and a post-prandial constitutional along OCS.

      What I find funny is that the approach is to apply a set of criteria to the street- probably useful for ‘world’ comparison purposes, but fails to capture the essence of the place- access & linkages, comfort & image, uses & activities.

      I see it doesn’t mention the PVC windows, repro-heritage shopfronts, badly laid cobblestones, unnecessary toytown street furniture or agressive drivers- sorry, the ‘healthy crowding of traffic’ (which also misses the point that on narrow streets the effect of the fumes is exacerbated).

      I doubt that the whole country was surveyed before the best street was picked- I can think of a few off the top of my head that would be better candidates.

    • #796366

      Should post office field be a sanctuary? New plans in the paper have local residents up in arms? What do people think?

      According to the Clare Champion:
      by TJ Flynn

      A NEW campaign to protect the Ennis Post Office Field has started up in the wake of fears that the town council and the local civic trust have earmarked the controversial site for potential development.
      Aontas na Páirce, a cross-community non-political organisation has been reactivated to fight the corner of the field that represents the last piece of green space in the heart of Ennis.
      This follows on from a notice placed in The Clare Champion “inviting submissions from the public as to how the Post Office field should be used/enhanced/developed”.
      The notice was placed by Ennis Town Council and stated that the field “has been identified as a major natural asset for the town centre of Ennis”.
      It also stated that the town council in conjunction with Ennis Civic Trust, “wishes to ensure that the town of Ennis derives maximum benefit from this resource”.
      In 1998 Ennis Town Council purchased two and a half acres of the Post Office field for the town. This purchase was made on the back of a campaign mounted by Aontas na Páirce to safeguard the field as a public amenity in Ennis.
      This campaign saw the collection of 7,000 signatures on a petition which called on the council to rezone the entire field as an amenity area in the town plan.
      Now, Aontas na Páirce is calling for the area to be made a wildlife sanctuary to be enjoyed by viewing rather than opening up the field for access. The group has outlined a number of ways in which this can be achieved.
      “A comprehensive mature tree planting is required to enhance the field. Trees should be planted in close enough groups so that wild bird and other animal habitat is created. Current healthy trees should be retained,” spokesperson for Aontas na Páirce Frank Counihan said.
      “A suitable boardwalk on the Parnell Street side would add to the enjoyment of the amenity. Safety considerations need to be given highest priority to include a means of closure. Remedial work to reintegrate the riverbank on the field side is required to stabilise it against erosion by the Fergus and the fowl. Afterwards, the sowing of vegetation that binds and builds the bank while providing habitat should be done
      “The seats on the Parnell Street car park river wall should be turned around to face the river and field. In the interests of safeguarding flora and fauna and to discourage misuse of the amenity, the area should be floodlit after dark. A natural pond – turlough area – with a raised natural island is neded and replacement of some of the topsoil is required.
      The set of the otters, which are a protected species, should be given due protection and care. Attention should be drawn to the presence of lamprey, another protected species in the river. With the exception of access to fishermen, the area should be the sanctuary of wildlife, except for necessary maintenance work.
      The numbers of geese, ducks and pigeons need management. In keeping with the needs of wildlife sanctuary the dredging of the riverbed should not be carried out,” the spokesperson concluded.

      The town council press release:

      Council Support for New Library in Ennis
      Date Issued: 13th November 2006

      At the November Monthly Meeting of Ennis Town Council, the Council agreed to support the development of a new library for Ennis at Bank Place.

      In recent years the Town Council, jointly with Clare County Council, has addressed the need for sports and recreational facilities to meet the needs of the expanding population of the town. Furthermore, the cultural needs have also been addressed through the provision of high profile projects. These civic facilities are central to the development and enhancement of Ennis as a regional growth centre.

      Following on from these developments, the provision of a new library for the town is now being proposed. Preliminary consultation has taken place with An Comhairle Leabharlanna and the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and initial responses have been positive.

      Ennis Town Council has land at Bank Place that could be suitable for a new library subject to planning requirements being met. The design of a modern building at this location would have to respect the unique characteristics of this site, while at the same time meet the needs of the local community.

      Tom Coughlan, Director of Service stated “The proposed library development would be constructed and limited to an area of 0.3 acres at the edge of the Post Office Field fronting Bank Place. The area of the Post Office Field is approximately 4 acres and the zoning of the remaining 3.7 acres would remain unchanged as open space”.

      He continued “The proposed development would involve the provision of a library, exhibition space, study space and research area and a viewing platform or decking area overlooking the river”.

      The Mayor of Ennis, Cllr. Joe Reidy, in welcoming the proposal stated “A new modern library will be an important further addition to the civic facilities in the town”.

      The proposed library development will go before Clare County Council for consideration and approval of a funding application. If the project is approved by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, the project will proceed to design and planning stage.

      What are peoples opinions on this? Is the field a valuable amenity or valuable wasted space? Should it be developed?

      If it is -I know the town council will surely just hand the job over to one of the many substandard architecture practices in the town. A plan like this which will radically alter the town needs a serious investigation and imo warrants a major competition which will bring forth architectural proposals worthy of the site and stature of the project.

      I’d be reluctant to let this happen purely from the point of view that I dont trust the council to comission a great building here.

      Any thoughts?

    • #796367

      what about a developer and architect design build option/competition? this can usually develop interesting architectural expressions. it would then have to be judged by independent people and i don’t think just architects. people of ennis should decide on what design is best to enhance one of te few jems left.

    • #796368

      Possibly but these proposals are often more market driven than necessary. A scheme like this can be purely for the enhancement of the town rather than any economic imperative. An architectural competition could also be judged by the council and people of the town. Not by architects.

    • #796369

      i don’t know even if you would let the council judge. a referendum on it by the town could be all it needs. let the people speak rather than just a select few. i don’t know to be honest as this could become a farce too.

      sometimes they are driven out of a desire to get more jobs from either the council or government…it could turn out to be a good idea….

    • #796370

      Was down there at the weekend for the Irish music sessions. Nice little town with its medieval nooks, niches and pubs along O’ Connell Street and it’s off shoots with the O’Connell monument overlooking all. Looks like a great cleaning and restoratiion job was done on the courthouse. a new statue of Dev outside in a park. I’d hate to see any insensitive new develpments ruining the very core of the town.

    • #796371

      Yeah the core of the town is great. The medievel streets are fantastic. Unfortunately the town stands to lose much of its character by way of suffocating new developments springing up all around the centre and the incredibly poor quality of design of new build in the centre. A serious conservatism in the planning dept and council has led to a particularly bad pastiche style dominating the whole town.

      Good contemporary architects and urban designers need to look at the town and produce new visions for its future growth. The post office field could be a major part of this new vision be it built or unbuilt but i really feel we need more imaginative proposals than coucillors or the planning dept can give us.

    • #796372

      A €350 million development that will create 1000 permanent jobs and yield up to €2 million in annual rates to Ennis Town Council was unveiled at two special meetings held in the Woodstock Hotel on Thursday evening.

      Members of Ennis Town Council and GAA clubs across the county were briefed on the project, proposed for the site of Cusack Park, that will see the Clare County Board develop a new stadium on the outskirts of Ennis.
      Aisling Chíosóíg Partnership, a consortium made up of builder Bernard McNamara and property developers Sean Lyne and Noel Connellan, are spearheading the project, aimed at seeing the creation of a ‘Riverside Quarter’ on the Cusack Park site.

      The project has been backed by the Clare County Board executive, but must win the approval of club del-
      egates around the county, who gathered in the Woodstock Hotel.

      Ennis Town Council have a crucial role to play, as members of the local authority would have to re-zone the Cusack Park for the town centre development to go ahead.
      The Aisling Chíosóig Partnership have tabled a bid of €84.4 million for the 10-acre Cusack Park site. In return, the partnership will sell a 32-acre site on the Quin Road, developed to foundation level, for €18 million.

      This would yield a €66.4 million profit for the Clare County Board with which to build a new Cusack Park.
      According to the Aisling Chíosóíg Partnership, “The proposed mixed-use development at Cusack Park promises to position Ennis as the premier urban centre in the mid-west.

      “It will bring the best of national and international retail, leisure and urban living, revitalising the heart of Ennis with a brand-new streetscape, attracting shoppers and tourists. “This extension of the existing town centre will be designed to allow easy pedestrian access from the traditional O’Connell, Parnell and Abbey Street areas. It will ensure strong links with the existing shopping areas of the town and will enhance, rather than diminish, the role of the traditional small-scale specialist shops that make Ennis so attractive,” added the partnership.

      The Clare People ‘Weekender’ Friday December 14 2007

    • #796373

      Anyone any thoughts on moving a town centre stadium to a greenfield edge site and more interestingly anyone have info on the ambitious (big change for Ennis) sounding development plans?

    • #796374

      @reddy wrote:

      Anyone any thoughts on moving a town centre stadium to a greenfield edge site and more interestingly anyone have info on the ambitious (big change for Ennis) sounding development plans?

      Redeveloping Cusack GAA Park into a new ‘Riverside Quarter’ would be an exciting project for Ennis. Renown for it’s narrow shopping streets, extending the town’s centre is a prudent move. It should stave off any hostile out-of-town shopping malls, thus strengthening the inner core of the town for the common good. I hope the development will focus on facing the River Fergus.

      Relocating the Cusack GAA Park out the Quin Road is a good move as for one the railway station is situated there and it will also be directly connected to the new N17 dual carriageway.

    • #796375

      @CologneMike wrote:

      Redeveloping Cusack GAA Park into a new ‘Riverside Quarter’ would be an exciting project for Ennis. Renown for it’s narrow shopping streets, extending the town’s centre is a prudent move. It should stave off any hostile out-of-town shopping malls, thus strengthening the inner core of the town for the common good. I hope the development will focus on facing the River Fergus.

      I totally agree however I’m just not sure I trust developers and ennis town council to push this through with any sort of vision. The planning dept needs a good dose of ambition and urban design education if you ask me.

      Fingers crossed the developers will have the sense to see that this needs good architecture and fundamental urban design to succeed.

    • #796376

      AS CLARE GAA clubs contemplate the sale of Cusack Park to a consortium of private investors, it has been revealed that the deal would facilitate a €350 million urban development in the centre of Ennis and lead to the creation of 1,000 permanent jobs.
      According to the Aisling Chíosóig Partnership, the new RiverSide Quarter beside the River Fergus would generate an estimated €2 million in annual rates for Ennis Town Council.
      Sale of the ten acre Cusack Park site for €84.4 million to the partnership which is made up of Bernard McNamara, Noel Connellan and Sean Lyne – who is also an investor in The Clare People – is now under consideration by the GAA clubs in Clare who will vote on the offer this Wednesday night.
      The partnership has agreed to sell a 32 acre fully developed site at Quin Road, Ennis to Clare GAA for €18 million and the GAA clubs are also considering their options on this site for the development of a new stadium.
      As well as significant retail outlets, the RiverSide Quarter will include a four star hotel with international standard conference facilities; residential and office accommodation; leisure facilities including a cineplex, leisure centre, a riverside boardwalk, public plaza and civic amenity areas.
      It will open up the town to the River Fergus with a riverside walk and promenade. Proposed civic amenities include a plaza for civic events and weekly markets; crèche; artisans workshops and retail units; a civic centre to be administered on behalf of the people of Ennis by the town council; a hub for a new urban bus service and 1,000 new parking spaces. The RiverSide Quarter will greatly reduce the need for shoppers to travel to Limerick and Galway. At the moment, €75 million of expenditure on non-grocery goods is moving out of Ennis every year and 62 per cent of all spending on items such as footwear, jewellery, sports goods, etc is leaking from Ennis to Limerick.
      If the proposed development at Cusack Park does not go ahead, the Aisling Chíosóig Partnership maintains that retail leakage from Ennis will increase from 62 per cent to 75 per cent by 2013.
      Members of Ennis Town Council were briefed on the proposal at a special meeting on Thursday evening when councillors were told that the title deeds to Cusack Park were in the possession of the Clare GAA county board.

      Written by Shane Murphy, The Clare People, Tuesday, 18 December 2007

    • #796377

      I see some new riverside apartment buildings have already taken place in the town centre along the Fergus.

      River Fergus – Harmony Row (Along side Abbey Hostel)

    • #796378

      River Fergus – Bank Place

    • #796379

      River Fergus – Cornmarket Street

    • #796380

      River Fergus – Mill Road

    • #796381

      The first image posted there (beside the abbey hostel) is subject to one of the most protracted planning processes I’ve ever seen. The scheme is in its third or fourth design at the moment, all previous having been turned down by the council and the Bord.

      Its a shame because the site is fantastic and the developers propose a riverside walk and new riverside street. The council are quite right to turn down the development though because of the appalling architectural quality of the largest blocks.

      Hopefully in its next incarnation they’ll get it right and this would be a very positive development.

    • #796382

      According to a Gaa forum the architects of the new stadium are Gilroy Mcmahon. The picture attached above is an early design i think. I know its early days but to me it looks like a pretty poor looking design. They have to be ambitious with the design of this. Perhaps looking to Thomond Parks redevelopment or similar sized stadia across Europe.

      One of my favourite stadia is this Eduardo Arroyo one in northern spain. In spite of its miniscule size design was placed as a primary objective and this paid off in spades.

    • #796383

      wow, that stadium is really impressive. Thanks for sharing photos Reddy,

      If only Mick Wallace had earned as much as Liam Carroll during our previous building boom, Wexford Youths would have a similar stadium! 🙂 Unfortunately there is no chance of any other developer spending his pocket money that way!

    • #796384

      True. Whatever happened to the rockefellars of this world. Philanthropy and grand gestures dont seem to figure highly in the average Irish property developers mind!!
      Wallace seems to be an exception. The Italian quarter is so successful because he prioritised making a sensitive and positive contribution to the city over jamming as many apartments as possible on the site. Most of them are only out for a quick buck. Makes me quite nervous about what they’re proposing in Ennis!

    • #796385

      More news…

      From Clare FM….

      Clare GAA clubs have approved the sale of Cusack Park in Ennis.

      GAA clubs from around the county voted by an overwhelming majority in favour of the move which will see a new retail and hotel complex developed on the site of Cusack Park with the home of Clare GAA moved to the Quin Road.

      The developers behind the proposed Riverside Quarter have welcomed the approval of local clubs and are now hoping Ennis Town Council will approve rezoning of the land, to allow their devlopment which promises 1,000 new jobs.

      Chairman of the Cusack Park Development Committee Jim Nash says the move will also have to be approved by the GAA nationally

      So looks like its actually gonna happen. Cant wait to see proposals for the riverside quarter. A lot of developments going on now.

      The Cusack Park/ riverside quarter.
      Pedestrianisation of the town centre.
      The redevelopment of the markets.
      The riverside developmetns at the abbey hostel.
      The new Public library and arts centre.
      The completion of the bypass and looming possibility of out of town retail parks,

      If anyone has any info on any of these it’d be great to see it.

    • #796386

      Any more information on the plan for an urban bus service in the town anyone? Im conducting a thesis and any information on that aspect would be really great for me. Seems to be all talk about the development of the complex but would the bus service be economically viable, and what areas of Ennis would it serve?


    • #796387


      A TWO and half year project costing €27 million will come to fruition at New Road, Ennis this Wednesday when Clare County Council’s new Corporate Headquarters opens for business.

      To facilitate the relocation to Àras Contae an Chlàir, all county council offices in Ennis will remain closed to he public today and tomorrow.
      The completed facility will provide accommodation for 300 staff, as well as meeting rooms, a staff canteen, laboratory, mayor’s office and council chamber and three party rooms for the elected members. 320 car parking spaces are provided at the rear of the building.

      The Corporate Headquarters building incorporates a number of environmentally-friendly measures and will operate as a naturally ventilated building. Some solar panels and a wood chip heating system have been installed. Following a tender process, Clare Wood Chip of Flagmount has been selected to supply the wood chip for the building.

      Cllr Patricia McCarthy, Mayor of Clare welcomed the opening of the new offices and referred to the ease of access to the various council services that will now be available at the new location. Mr Alec Fleming, Clare County Manager, added, “I would like to pay tribute to the council staff for their patience and co-operation in relocating from the old offices and the move back to Àras Contae an Chlàir this week. I now look forward to the council providing a service of the highest standard from Àras Contae an Chlàir.”
      Mr Michael McNamara, Director of Services, explained that the building had been designed in a user-friendly manner.

      He said, “The council was very conscious of the need to put in place the highest standards of accessibility to all parts of the building and service within. We have been working with the National Disability Authority with a view to attaining accreditation under the Excellence through Accessibility Scheme.”

      Sections of the council were relocated to several sites around Ennis when the old offices on the New Road site were vacated in mid-2005. Following a tender process that generated a lot of interest from many of the country’s larger developers, the firm of Michael McNamara & Co Building Contractors was chosen as the preferred option to design, build and finance the provision of the new building. The contractors commenced work in January 2006.

      Written by Shane Murphy, The Clare People, Thurs 24th Jan 2008

    • #796388

      Article in todays Clare People

      Bridging the gap in Ennis town

      Written by Gordon Deegan

      ENNIS is to get a new bridge across the River Fergus as part of a major development by a Galway company which has just got the go-ahead from Ennis Town Council.
      Briarlane Development secured planning permission for a major extension to the Abbey Hostel near the existing Club Bridge. The company is proposing the construction of a footbridge across the River Fergus to link the development to the Abbey Street car-park.

      As part of a four-floor structure, the developers plan a 120-bunk bed extension to the existing hostel building. The development is to also include a restaurant, an internet café and a wine bar with all ancillary services.
      The extended hostel is expected to fill a gap in the local tourist market where, currently, there are no hostel spaces for independent tourists.

      The Briarlane project faced no local opposition and the company was able to satisfy concerns that the Department of the Environment expressed over otters in the River Fergus.
      The granting of planning permission five years after the company first sought to develop the strategic site adjacent to the River Fergus follows a decision by An Bord Pleanála last year to refuse planning for a project that promised to transform the Ennis skyline as part of a €25 million riverside development.
      Early last year, Ennis Town Council gave the go-ahead for the ambitious project in spite of warnings from Clare’s Conservation Officer that the plan had the potential to do “irreparable damage to a very attractive and uniquely ancient county town”.

      The council chose to ignore Conservation Officer Risteard UaCronin’s warning that “the design of the proposed development is neither contemporary nor innovative and reflects large city suburban developments of the 1970s and 1980s, many of which are presently being demolished”.
      But his stance was endorsed last September by the appeals board which ruled that the proposal would seriously injure the visual amenities of the area and the character of the architectural heritage area.
      The development involved a six-storey building opposite the Abbey Street car-park arranged around a central podium and included a plan to develop a 30-bedroom hotel, 58 apartments and a pedestrian bridge across the River Fergus.

      The board also ruled that one of the apartment blocks would provide poor quality accommodation and seriously injure the residential amenities of future occupants and of property in the vicinity.

      Copyright The Clare People, Wed 7 May 2008

      Seems like a decent development. The bridge will open up that side of the river to future development. Hopefully of better quality than

    • #796389

      The draft Ennis and Environs development plan is on the web:


      After a very quick scan of it, its looking like a decent plan, certainly more urban design orientated than its predecessor. 🙂

      Submissions and observations relating to the draft Plan are invited until 3 October 2008.

      Not sure if many here are familiar with the town but if anyone has any comments or ideas it would be interesting to see them posted and I’d encourage you to submit them.

      From experience I know these submissions can be revelations to the design teams as they sometimes can’t see the wood for the trees!

    • #796390

      Seems to be significant oppositon to the proposed redevelopment of Cusack Park in Ennis…


    • #796391

      Council to slow development in ‘overzoned’ Ennis area (Irish Times)


      DEVELOPERS IN the greater Ennis area are facing further writedowns in the value of land banks following Clare County Council’s move to “freeze” large tracts from development around the town.

      The council’s move is in response to concerns expressed by the Department of the Environment about overzoning in the Ennis and environs development plan, adopted last year.

      The department has pointed out to the council that there are 4,500 acres of zoned land around Ennis that would cater for a population increase of 100,000.

      The Ennis area has a population of 28,700; official forecasts state that there will be a population increase of only 6,300 to 2020.

      In a proposal put to the department and now agreed by members of Clare County Council and Ennis Town Council, the county council is proposing to phase development on lands zoned residential for development.

      The council has agreed to overhaul its development plan after the department warned that if it did not address the overzoning, Minister for the Environment John Gormley would be forced to direct the council to make the necessary changes to the adopted plan with immediate effect.

      Documentation and maps circulated to councillors show that the council has decided to phase the development of housing into three phases, rather than dezone sites from residential to “open countryside”.

      According to the proposal, Clare County Council will allow the development of lands contained in phase two following 75 per cent of lands in phase one being developed for residential housing.

      The council states that phase three will only be developed following 75 per cent of phase one and phase two being developed for residential purposes.

      The house market is stagnant in Ennis, however developers with land in phases two and three may not be able to develop for a number of years as they wait for housing applications to proceed in phase one.

      The phasing has emerged from a series of behind-closed-doors meetings of the councillors where the detail of the plan was worked out.

      The maps outline the areas at various locations around Ennis and in some instances, phase-one and phase-two designations are located adjacent each other.

      The council does not supply a rationale as to why some sites are outlined in designated phase one and others phase two.

      A large site at Woodstock on the western outskirts of Ennis is isolated in the open countryside, but will be developed in the first phase.

      Clare County Council is to publish the plans so as to invite submissions on its proposal from the department and the public before the issue goes back to the councillors.

      Has anybody maps depicting plans to expand Ennis?

    • #796392

      Those figures are absolutely shocking. Land zoned to house 100,000!

      This is not the planners fault – Ennis is a prime case of exposing the ridiculous state of our planning system – When decision time comes to make the development plan, councilors have consistently amended the plans to included massive zonings not considered by the planners / consultants. The site mentioned above at Woodstock is a prime example.

      Celtic Tiger buffoonery at its very worst.

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