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Bantry Bay Port Launch Design Review & Vision for Bantry Bay & Harbour

19th December 2019
Bantry Bay Harbour and marina Bantry Bay Harbour and marina

Bantry Bay Port Company recently commissioned the RIAI to undertake an independent and non-directional Design Review Process to consider the potential of the Inner Harbour and Slob Area in Bantry. The process also assists the local community in formulating a cohesive vision and strategy that maximises the benefits of integrating the marine and urban land uses in Bantry Town.

In 2017 Bantry Bay Port Company completed a significant investment of €8.5 million in the Bantry Inner Harbour development. The development, which consisted of a leisure marina, widening of the town pier, dredging of the inner harbour and creation of a foreshore amenity space, marked Bantry Bay Port Company’s commitment to regenerating the economic activity of Bantry Harbour and its region.

The objective of the RIAI Design Review process was to provide expert impartial advice to Bantry Bay Port Company, and this was carried out by three Registered Architects Peter Carroll, Louise Cotter and Paul Dillon, each of whom brought a wealth of relevant experience to the design review. During their work they focussed on four main areas, such as the slob area, the edges of the sea/harbour and the possible uses in terms of tourism, recreational and amenity, the enhancement and further development of boating facilities and finally the enhancement of the town itself.

Port of Cork CEO, Brendan Keating said: ‘It is hoped that this plan will raise the profile of Bantry’s maritime opportunity and provide a template for local community groups to engage with public agencies who can assist with deliverable projects, which can attract funding support. The recommendations by the Architects of this Design Review will signpost a realistic pathway which will deliver a new vision for the maritime/harbour interface with the town of Bantry.’

The ideas and insights presented in the Design Review Process can now be assessed by the local community and stakeholders with a view to seeking funding support to bring the project to fruition.

Commenting on the design review, Kathryn Meghen, RIAI CEO, said: ‘The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) is a champion for quality and sustainability in the built environment for the people of Ireland. Our purpose is to drive excellence in architecture and the built environment. As part of this remit, the RIAI has been successfully running Architectural Competitions and Design Reviews. We were delighted to contribute to A Vision for Bantry Bay and Harbour through the Design Review process, which provides expert and impartial advice. The Architects’ ideas in the Bantry report demonstrate both a consideration and understanding of place and a repository of innovative ideas, while cognisant of context and available resources. While RIAI Design Reviews are not a statutory process, they act as a driver for new ideas and fresh thinking for a quality-built environment.’

Bantry Bay Port Company would like to thank the local community, business groups and tourism groups for their support during this Design Review Process and look forward to continuing this relationship and showing that Bantry town can be a leader in terms of revitalisation of rural Ireland.

Published in Port of Cork
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Port of Cork Information

The Port of Cork Company is a commercial semi-state company responsible for the commercial running of the harbour as well as responsibility for navigation and berthage in the port.  The Port is the main port serving the South of Ireland, County Cork and Cork City. 

Types of Shipping Using Port of Cork

The Port offers all six shipping modes from Lift-on Lift-off, Roll-on Roll-off, Liquid Bulk, Dry Bulk, Break Bulk and Cruise liner traffic.

Port of Cork Growth

The port has made impressive strides in recent decades. Since 2000, the Port of Cork has invested €72 million in improving Port infrastructure and facilities. Due to its favourable location and its modern deepwater facilities, the Port is ideally positioned for additional European trading as well as for yet unexploited direct deep-sea shipping services. A well-developed road infrastructure eases the flow of traffic from and to the port. The Port of Cork’s growing reputation for quality service, including prompt and efficient vessel turnaround, ensures its position as a vital link in the global supply chain. The Port of Cork Company turnover in 2018 amounted to €35.4 million, an increase of €3.9 million from €31.5 million in 2017. The combined traffic of both the Ports of Cork and Bantry increased to 10.66 million tonnes in 2018 up from 10.3 million tonnes in 2017.

History of Port of Cork

Famous at the last port of call of the Titanic, these medieval navigation and port facilities of the city and harbour were historically managed by the Cork Harbour Commissioners. Founded in 1814, the Cork Harbour Commissioners moved to the Custom House in 1904.  Following the implementation of the 1996 Harbours Act, by March 1997 all assets of the Commissioners were transferred to the Port of Cork Company.

Commercial Traffic at Port of Cork

Vessels up to 90,000 tonnes deadweight (DWT) are capable of coming through entrance to Cork Harbour. As the shipping channels get shallower the farther inland one travels, access becomes constricted, and only vessels up to 60,000 DWT can sail above Cobh. The Port of Cork provides pilotage and towage facilities for vessels entering Cork Harbour. All vessels accessing the quays in Cork City must be piloted and all vessels exceeding 130 metres in length must be piloted once they pass within 2.5 nautical miles (4.6 km) of the harbour entrance.

Berthing Facilities in Cork Harbour

The Port of Cork has berthing facilities at Cork City, Tivoli, Cobh and Ringaskiddy. The facilities in Cork City are primarily used for grain and oil transport. Tivoli provides container handling, facilities for oil, livestock and ore and a roll on-roll off (Ro-Ro) ramp. Prior to the opening of Ringaskiddy Ferry Port, car ferries sailed from here; now, the Ro-Ro ramp is used by companies importing cars into Ireland. In addition to the ferry terminal, Ringaskiddy has a deep water port.

Port of Cork Development Plans

2020 will be a significant year for the Port of Cork as it prepares to complete and open the €86 million Cork Container Terminal development in Ringaskiddy.

Once operational the new terminal will enable the port to handle up to 450,000 TEU per annum. Port of Cork already possess significant natural depth in Cork harbour, and the work in Ringaskiddy Port will enable the Port of Cork to accommodate vessels of 5500 to 6000 TEU, which will provide a great deal of additional potential for increasing container traffic.

It follows a previous plan hatched in 2006 as the port operated at full capacity the Port drew up plans for a new container facility at Ringaskiddy. This was the subject of major objections and after an Oral Planning Hearing was held in 2008 the Irish planning board Bord Pleanala rejected the plan due to inadequate rail and road links at the location.  

Bantry Port

In 2017 Bantry Bay Port Company completed a significant investment of €8.5 million in the Bantry Inner Harbour development. The development consisted of a leisure marina, widening of the town pier, dredging of the inner harbour and creation of a foreshore amenity space.

Port of Cork Cruise Liner Traffic

2019 was a record cruise season for the Port of Cork with 100 cruise liners visiting. In total over 243,000 passengers and crew visited the region with many passengers visiting Cork for the first time.

Also in 2019, the Port of Cork's Cruise line berth in Cobh was recognised as one of the best cruise destinations in the world, winning in the Top-Rated British Isles & Western Europe Cruise Destination category. 

There has been an increase in cruise ship visits to Cork Harbour in the early 21st century, with 53 such ships visiting the port in 2011, increasing to approximately 100 cruise ship visits by 2019.

These cruise ships berth at the Port of Cork's deepwater quay in Cobh, which is Ireland's only dedicated berth for cruise ships.

Passenger Ferries

Operating since the late 1970s, Brittany Ferries runs a ferry service to Roscoff in France. This operates between April and November from the Ro-Ro facilities at Ringaskiddy. Previous ferry services ran to Swansea in Wales and Santander in Spain. The former, the Swansea Cork ferry, ran initially between 1987 and 2006 and also briefly between 2010 and 2012.

The latter, a Brittany Ferries Cork–Santander service, started in 2018 but was cancelled in early 2020.

Marine Leisure

The Port of Cork has a strategy that aims to promote the harbour also as a leisure amenity. Cork’s superb natural harbour is a great place to enjoy all types of marine leisure pursuits. With lots of sailing and rowing clubs dotted throughout the harbour, excellent fishing and picturesque harbour-side paths for walking, running or cycling, there is something for everyone to enjoy in and around Cork harbour. The Port is actively involved with the promotion of Cork Harbour's annual Festival. The oldest sailing club in the world, founded in 1720, is the Royal Cork Yacht Club is located at Crosshaven in the harbour, proof positive, says the Port, that the people of Cork, and its visitors, have been enjoying this vast natural leisure resource for centuries. 

Port of Cork Executives

  • Chairman: John Mullins
  • Chief Executive: Brendan Keating
  • Secretary/Chief Finance Officer: Donal Crowley
  • Harbour Master and Chief Operations Officer: Capt. Paul O'Regan
  • Port Engineering Manager: Henry Kingston
  • Chief Commercial Officer: Conor Mowlds
  • Head of Human Resources: Peter O'Shaughnessy

At A Glance – Port of Cork

Type of port: deepwater, multi-model, Panamax, warm-water
Available berths: Up to ten
Wharves: 1
Employees: 113
Chief Executive: Brendan Keating
Annual cargo tonnage: 9,050,000
Annual container volume: 165,000

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