Big plans for park upgrade
Visitors to Kinsale Road and its environs will soon also get to enjoy public events and great outdoor activities as plans for the Tram ore Valley Park continue apace.
As the Kinsale Road area continues to change with new developments on the horizon, it is difficult to miss the presence of the Tramore Valley Park that is set to dominate the area and the wider Cork city long into the future.
The 70-hectare area is destined to become a major park of regional significance. A location for runners, walkers and cyclists. People can use it as part of their commute or a place to have their lunch.
It will also be a way for Cork to put its best face forward as one of the first sights visitors to the city will get when they arrive from the airport.
Located between the South Ring Road, the Link Road, Nemo Rangers and the South Douglas Road it is long-remembered as the City dump.
From the 1960s onwards the site was used as a landfill and in the following decades, the nearby businesses and residents suffered the smells, flies and seagulls that come with such a site. In those four decades, the dump gathered three million tonnes of waste.
Thankfully, the city saw sense and in 2009 the decision was made to cease all landfill operations and work began to turn the massive site into an attraction.
Since then work has been ongoing to cap the former dump and extensive work has gone into converting the site for use as a major regional park.
The masterplan for the site includes walking trails; cycle paths; an outdoor activity area including zip-lines, climbing walls and an assault course; a motorhome and a caravan park.
Work has been taking place on a phased basis. In 2015 an Olympic- standard BMX track opened in the park with hopes of attracting regular events and competitions to Cork. Weekly 5km parkruns were so popular cars were queuing on the dual carriageway forcing the runs to move to Ballincollig due to safety concerns.
The BMX club has called for progress on bringing more clubs and activities into the park highlighting the potential it has.
Earlier this year, Cork County Council published plans for a €3.2m cycle/pedestrian bridge over the N40 South Ring Road from Grange and Frankfield into the park. A single-span steel truss bridge is proposed, crossing both lanes of the N40.
It would travel from the eastern side of Vernon Mount House close to the Alden Grove estate across the road to the park close to Nemo Rangers GAA pitches where it will link to existing cycle paths in the park.
As well as the bridge, the plans call for a new woodland walkway and cycle path that would be accessed from the Grange Road close to the Church of the Incarnation.
The four-metre wide path will have streetlights and will run alongside the Vernon Mount stream. Once built, the bridge will act as a catalyst for further development of the park and offer cyclists and pedestrians in Grange and Frankfield better access to Douglas and the city.
It is also expected the new route would reduce car usage in the areas. The Grange Road has a population of almost 7,000 and at present, 76% of journeys from the area to work or school are by car.
Another feature of the Tramore Valley Park masterplan is a proposal to build a sculpture on the top of the hill in the centre of the park that would become an iconic feature of the Cork skyline.
For visitors entering the city from Cork Airport or along the South Ring Road, the sculpture will be particularly prominent.
While progress on the Tramore Valley Park has been taking time, one city councillor wants to set aside money in its November budget to allow the park to open next year.
Former Lord Mayor, Cllr Des Cahill is proposing an allocation of €70,000, the figure needed to run the park each year.
“Tramore Valley is a vast facility that will hold many activity events like we saw with the parkrun. The parkrun movement is hugely successful is parts of Ireland and beyond and a brilliant example on this is on Bere Island in West Cork.
“If my fellow councillors support my proposal as a council we can offer a great facility to communities, resident sports clubs while also making a difference to the healthy wellbeing of the people of Cork,” he said.
While it may take time to fully open, the potential of the Tramore Valley Park is plain to see. In the space of a decade, Ireland’s newest and most significant park will be the doorstep of all those who live and work in the Kinsale Road area.
Computer generated view of the planned cycle/ pedestrian bridge across the South Ring Road when viewed looking east.
Plans for Tramore Valley Park plan include the use of demountable, lightweight structures to be used in outdoor events at the park.
A view of the BMX Ireland National Series which was hosted by Cork BMX Club at their track at Tramore Valley Park in June.
And, above, an aerial view illustration of the overall plans for the park.