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Marina Park · Cork, Ireland

A dialogue between river and city


Marina Park in Cork embodies many facets of the city. It fulfils the long-standing promise of creating a regional park to the east of the city. Like many former industrial cities, Cork has significant decommissioned industrial areas along the river, adjacent to its city centre. Today, these areas present an opportunity for residential development and the redevelopment of public spaces. Marina Park is a key component in Cork’s ambition to develop its docklands industrial area into a lively and integrated neighbourhood for the city.

Cork, Ireland
In progress
2012 - ongoing
Muncipality of Cork
(Phase 1) REDSCAPE, OCSC, Howley Hayes
Jason Gairn

Industrial heritage

The park is designed on a former brownfield site comprising mostly derelict showground buildings, a Gaelic sports stadium, and a rundown natural zone. This diverse and complex setting created a challenging context for crafting a well-planned and cohesive park. Based on our overall vision, the park is now realised in distinct phases, resulting in a large, diverse but coherent environment for the city.


Embracing the water: an adaptable park

In our plan, the park plays a vital role in managing stormwater runoff, not only within the park but also for the surrounding residential areas, and future dockland development. It presents a landscape-oriented solution for urban adaptation, accommodating the temporary storage of increased or extreme rainfall events and rising sea levels. Water becomes the backbone of the park, harmoniously integrating natural wetland areas with social gathering and event spaces. Our integrated approach to landscape, water engineering, and cultural heritage results in a well-balanced park that transforms the contextual challenges of temporary water storage into one of the park’s standout features.


Encouraging movement: multiple phases

As the first phase has been realised, the most urban and multi-functional part of the park has been taken into use. Here the park gracefully envelops the renovated Gaelic sports stadium and forms an extension of it for events and games. Where the different access points for the park meet, a new striking pavilion can be found. The central Hall repurposes structures of the former showground and houses a coffee bar. Next to it, the strong relationship of the square with water is made accessible to visitors with a water feature. A grid of fountains creates a creative play object as an attractive meeting point in the park.


Catalyst for regeneration

With the commencement of Phase 2 and the promenade, early 2024, Marina Park enters its next chapter, realizing the complete vision outlined in the master plan and contributing to Cork’s ambitious Docklands development. This extension spans from The Atlantic Pond to Church Avenue, transitioning from a more urban to a more natural character. The ‘eco-park’ ambition takes a more natural shape, introducing diverse highlights like picnic areas, adventure zones, and restored heritage sites, expanding Cork’s recreational offerings.


Integrating nature

Extensive tree planting, focused on native biodiversity, aims to restructure this area of the park, seamlessly integrating nature into the urban fabric. Formal and informal pathways welcome visitors to a dynamic experience, while the Atlantic Pond area sees improvements in both landscape and amenities.

Creator of meaningful places

Aided by a multidisciplinary team of specialists, including engineers and conservationists, we emphasize preserving historical structures like Barrington Folly, the slipway, and the old quay wall, connecting the development to Cork’s history. Beyond cultural preservation, the project redefines the natural character and history, with a focus on ecological management of meadows, woodlands, and marsh areas, enhancing biodiversity.


The promenade

Another project we are working on will be improving the connection between the park and the river. The promenade along the River Lee will be transformed into an attractive route with balconies and squares as places to stay, enhancing the park’s welcoming atmosphere.


Aligned with the city’s vision for sustainable growth in balance with natural preservation, Marina Park will invite exploration of an area where history, nature, and contemporary life coexist. Positioned a short distance from the city centre, the completed park will span 70 acres, significantly expanding Cork’s green spaces. As a green stage for activity it will become a driving force into Cork’s development as a climate-adaptive sustainable and healthy city.


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