New multi-million children's experience for Waterford on the cards

New multi-million children's experience for Waterford on the cards

A new children's experience could soon be on the way to Waterford City. Currently an idea, Tír na nÓg is the name given to a museum-style concept to be located at 18 Lady Lane in the city.

The building was home to the former men's hostel, which was damaged extensively by a fire.

Area Engineer with Waterford Council, Morris Conway, outlined the cost of the project at a recent Metropolitan meeting.

"The cost of the overall proposal between Lady Lane and Spring Garden Alley proposal is probably somewhere around the €15 million mark. I think the refurbishment of the building is around €8.5 million."


It was confirmed at the meeting that funding will be received at a Government level for the multi-million euro project.

Director of Services for Economic Development with the Council, Michael Quinn, outlined the project at a recent Metropolitan meeting of Waterford Council.

"I don't think a museum is the correct description. This is going to be a childhood experience. It is geared towards interaction with Children in a way that is going to be educational and fun.

"We have changed the branding a little bit to reflect where we are going with this. I think [the name] Tír na nÓg sets a better tone about our vision. There's a lot of work to do before we have a final detailed design for the project."


However, not everyone agrees with the proposed plans. Several Councillors raised concerns including Cllr. Joe Kelly who addressed the meeting.

"The building should be used to address the housing need in Waterford. I'm not certain of this idea at all. I am aware that the building was the men's hostel in previous years. I think it would be far better used for accommodation in our city such as an apartment complex."

Cllr. Cristiona Kiely added, "I am delighted to see it reach this stage. I know a lot of work has been done by the council. My question is do we have funding for the items that will be placed in the 'museum',"

Cllr. Donal Barry added, "I think the building would be more suited to accommodate City living. Lady Lane is one of the most important streets in Waterford. It's underutilized, and I think it would be great to see people living there. We own the former Post Office on the Quay and nothing happened there. Have we looked at any other areas to put this museum? I also remember being at a workshop here a few months ago, and we were told that we do not need more museums, we are 'museumed' out". I'd also like to know how it is going to be funded going forward, are children going to be charged?"

Cllr Frank Quinlan added," I agree with my fellow Councilors, but I think the location of the proposed plans is not suitable, especially given the accommodation crisis. I think it would be a shame to use the building for this purpose.

We have young people coming to the city with nowhere to stay as they cannot afford a hotel for €300. I think if it was used as a Hostel type setting [like in other cities] where people could stay and they don't bother with breakfast. I think that would be a suitable idea for it."

Area Engineer with Waterford Council, Morris Conway responded to Councillors saying," We have considered other options including housing, but the building doesn't lend itself to be sub-divided for a higher number of residential units.

"It has a large formal set of rooms that would be suited for other use. We did look at the option of short-stay apartments, and that is an option still. Unfortunately, it didn't fit the narrative of the current funding stream being provided by the Government to bring the building back into use.

"We have been working away at that building constantly including repairs, but we need to bring it back into use to save it.

"It's not a museum per se, but a very different offer. It's location is important between museums and the library, and we feel it will bring people back into the city centre. We are happy to keep the avenue of communication open between Councilors, but the building is not suitable for accommodation."

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