"Lighting the Millennium" Programme Launched
Cork Corporation has announced details of a major programme to light many of many of the city's most historic and visually attractive buildings.
The "Lighting the Millennium" Programme aims to expand, on a selective basis, the number of buildings, bridges and attractive vistas in the city which have floodlighting and other forms of individually designed lighting. The Corporation has identified 22 buildings as being particularly suitable for lighting as an initial objective but this list is likely to be expanded in time.
The Programme was launched on 5th April 2000 by the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Damian Wallace, following the lighting of four city bridges - St. Vincent's, Daly's, St. Patrick's and Distillery Bridges - in the first tranche of bridges to be illuminated by the Corporation, with the assistance of the National Millennium Committee which has donated £300,000 towards the project.
The Chairman of the National Millennium Committee, Minister Seamus Brennan, T.D., said the lighting of the bridges - one of several Millennium projects for Cork which are receiving overall support of more than £2.3 million from the Committee - will greatly enhance the face of the city. "The lighting of the bridges is symbolic - signifying a new-found optimism, vision and hope as we take our first steps into a new Millennium. The illumination will play a significant part in transforming the bridges into objects of distinction and beauty. I am delighted the Millennium Committee is also helping to transform the centres of Dublin and Limerick through the illumination of prominent bridges".
The Lord Mayor said that Cork Corporation felt it now opportune to undertake a significant lighting programme given that substantial inner city renewal undertaken by the Corporation had in turn encouraged very significant property development and refurbishment by the private sector. "Renewal has also been undertaken in areas outside the city centre core. This, with the attendant clearance of dereliction and achievement of many environmental improvements, has led to a much enhanced city. These developments, taken in conjunction with traffic calming measures being introduced in the city centre, accentuate the many positive architectural and aesthetic features of Cork city, " the Lord Mayor said.
City Manager Jack Higgins, says: "The city is blessed with a rich and varied architecture and this is embellished by the intimate scale of the city itself. Cork Corporation believes that planned and properly designed lighting of many of our distinctive buildings would further enhance the city, encourage more regeneration, increase commercial activity and improve local night time environment. While some private and public buildings are already lit, many other landmark buildings deserving of this attention are not, Mr. Higgins said.
Cork Corporation already has a Cork Historic Centre Lighting Strategy in place and is keen to work this through in conjunction with the private sector but is also interested, on a selective basis, in extending the lighting strategy to encompass vistas and buildings outside the historic core of the city.
The approach is an integrated one and incorporates the lighting of city bridges which is being undertaken with the assistance of the National Millennium Committee.
The Corporation is to seek the support of members of the business community who may be interested in lighting their own buildings or who may, individually or collectively, be prepared to sponsor other lighting programmes.
On December 31st 1999 at approximately 16.40 hrs, coincinding with "Last Light", before the Winer Solstice, four period style gas lights were commissioned at Parliament Bridge by The Right Honourable The Lord Mayor, Councillor Damian Wallace. The Sepcial Ceremony included the 'switch-on' of another four similar gas lights at the South Gate Bridge as part of the "Millennium Lighting - Cork City Bridges" Project. The entire project was sponsored by Bord Gais for the people of Cork in response to a Competition for suitable Millennium Projects initiated by Councillor Jim Corr during his term of office as Lord Mayor of Cork. The project is commemorated by the provision of an inscribed plaque near the South Eastern abutment of each bridge.
Archival photographs of both of these city bridges clearly show gas lights which were used for street illumination in both areas, and the new gas lights were commissioned to replicate the original lights at these sites.
On December 31st 1999, as part of the Last Light festivities, the Lord Mayor of Cork, Councillor Damian Wallace, unveiled a plaque to mark the commencement of the illumination of the City Bridges Project.
The plaque, as unveiled by The Lord Mayor, acknowledges the role of the National Millennium Committee, the E.S.B. and Cork Corporation in undertaking the illumination of St. Patrick's Bridge.
The bridges of Cork are an important part of the urban landscape of the city. They link vast parts of the centre and constitute a major communication link; by night they disappear into the darnkess and do not contribute to enhance the beauty of the city. One of the most important aspects of the use of public lighting is the creation of night images that stand by their own right as artistic elements of the city. They not only contribute to the aesthetic enhancement of the urban landscape but they create a climate of well being that helps to increase the sense of security. For the lighting of the Cork bridges the design concept follows a case by case pattern and each bridge will stand on its own. The design of the light will take advantage of the architectural qualities of each bridge. Whenever they are present these qualities will be enhanced; but when little architectural value is present the bridge will be transformed into a lighting sculpture. Low glare lights and fibre optic tubes will be used to minimise glare and ensure public safety. The link between bridges will be visual. There will be no general theme, or on the contrary, the general theme will be precisely the diversity of structures and functions along the river. For the majority of the cases the basic criteria for the lighting will be to provide an artistic approach. There will be other cases where it will be necessary to combine both aesthetic and functional considerations to create an overall concept including in one single solution an answer to both elements.
The first phase of the £300,000 bridge lighting plan involved St. Patrick's, Brian Boru, Daly's, Clontarf and St. Vincent's bridges. Flood-lighting began on these 5 bridges in January 2000 and the programme will extend to other bridges which have been identified as suitable. The task of illuminating Cork's bridges will take into account the restrictions imposed by high water levels and tidal influences. The lighting planned will be functional as well as having aesthetic appeal with the ability to change the colour scheme of the lights.
The Millennium Footbridge Project and the Lighting of Bridges Project form part of a wider programme of work planned by Cork Corporation to revitalise the "Banks of The Lee." The programme proposes more than 8km of riverside walks in a virtually traffic free environment from the city centre to the Lee Fields and Curraheen Park. The Mardyke is to be restored as a major amenity and the improvement plan includes restricting parking, improving security and re-establishing the area's character as a walkway. The National Millennium Committee has awarded Cork Corporation £300,000 for the Lighting of Bridges Project.