Devel­op­ment set to bring new life to Bridge Street

The Kerryman (South Kerry Edition) - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

A LONG-DE­LAYED build­ing pro­ject that fi­nally got un­der­way last week is set to trans­form Bridge Street in Din­gle, where many of the ex­ist­ing houses have lain derelict for years.

Most of the houses on the street – be­tween O’Fla­herty’s pub and the Reel Fish take­away – are to be de­mol­ished and re­placed by a sin­gle build­ing with 20 holiday rooms up­stairs and food out­lets on the ground floor. The new build­ing is de­signed to repli­cate the ex­ist­ing streetscape, but with mod­ern con­struc­tion stan­dards. Ac­cord­ing to de­vel­oper Jerry O’Sul­li­van, the street will look ex­actly as it does now – down to the un­even heights of the ex­ist­ing houses and the style of plas­ter­work.

Work on the pro­ject was timed for the win­ter to avoid caus­ing dis­rup­tion dur­ing the food festival and the busy tourist sea­son but, de­spite the late start, it is hoped to have the ma­jor­ity of the job com­plete by next May.

The holiday ac­com­mo­da­tion in the new build­ing, which is to be called Corn­mar­ket Quar­ter, will be themed around the town’s his­tory. In­di­vid­ual rooms are de­signed to re­flect var­i­ous key as­pects of life in Din­gle so, for ex­am­ple, there will be a room with a wall-sized pho­to­graph of horse­drawn carts queu­ing up at the old cream­ery, ac­com­pa­nied by a brief his­tory. Fish­ing boats at the quay and the town’s Wrens are other Din­gle icons which will be in­cluded as themes.

On the ground floor there will be sep­a­rate, but com­ple­men­tary, food out­lets which will share an open space with seat­ing on the south­ern side of the build­ing, fac­ing The Tracks.

Jerry said he has first be­gan plan­ning the Bridge Street rede­vel­op­ment 17 years ago but in the mean­time the eco­nomic crash hap­pened and, with the coun­try in the dol­drums, ev­ery­thing had to be put on hold. With the pro­ject now back on track in a grow­ing econ­omy, he said “it’s nice to see a bit of devel­op­ment in Din­gle for a change… some­thing pos­i­tive hap­pen­ing”.

Jerry said the devel­op­ment will give a new lease of life to an area that was his­tor­i­cally a com­mer­cial hub in the town. “We’re putting back pretty much what was in the area,” he said of the pro­ject.

The fa­mil­iar face of Bridge Street, Din­gle, will soon be con­signed to his­tory as most of this row of houses is de­mol­ished to make way for a new devel­op­ment. INSET: Work get­ting un­der­way last Wednesday.

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