A major milestone in the Swords Cultural Project has been reached with the publishing of the tender for the iconic building which will include a county library, theatre, gallery, arts spaces, a maker space, and a café.
This is the latest stage in the tender process which has been underway for several months and responses are due to be submitted in February. A comprehensive evaluation period will follow before the tender is awarded and contracts are signed. It is hoped that construction will commence in Q2 2024 with the new building due to open in 2026.
The necessary enabling works are currently taking place on the site at the junction of North Street and Seatown Road to prepare for the construction phase.
Twelve houses on the opposite side of Seatown Road are due for demolition and will be replaced by 36 new homes in two blocks of 20 and 16 respectively. A further 13 new homes are due to be built on North Street as part of the transformation of this part of Swords.
The Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Adrian Henchy, said, “this marks another important step in the Swords Cultural Quarter project. This building with be a centre of knowledge, arts and culture for Swords and Fingal and will have a strong focus on people and experiences which, through the delivery of a modern, dynamic, inspirational and educational programme of events and activities, will become a destination and a focal point for the local community and visitors.”
The Chief Executive of Fingal County Council, AnnMarie Farrelly, said, “since the day this project was first mooted our focus has always been on delivery. Going to tender means we are another step closer to construction and delivering a valuable piece of community infrastructure for Swords and Fingal.”
The Swords Cultural Quarter is a 3.89 acre area around the junction of North Street, Seatown Road, Bridge Street and Main Street and the new building, which has been designed by renowned Architects O’Donnell and Tuomey, will include a new 3,000m2 County Library, an art gallery and exhibition space, a café, a civic area, studios and rehearsal rooms, and a Black Box theatre which can cater for audiences of between 165 and 360 depending on the type of event being staged.
The new library, which will be seven times bigger than the existing one, will offer the people of Swords a full suite of library services for the first time. In addition to a much larger stock of books, the new library will include the Local Studies and Archive section, as well as a Maker Space, study space, reading areas, events and meeting rooms.
Meanwhile, work on the Carnegie Free Library on North Street, which is being partially funded through a grant from the European Regional Development Fund, is almost finished.
The refurbishment and conservation works included the construction of a new two-storey extension to the side of the building to facilitate new services and improve universal access. The project will provide workspaces and a creative hub with flexibility for a range of community and arts activities including rehearsal and performance uses.
Phase three works at Swords Castle are also ongoing and consist of three elements which are repairs of outstanding historic masonry, a landscaping upgrade, and an electrical upgrade.
The Swords Cultural Quarter project is one of 16 contained in the Sustainable Swords Strategy which is a key part of Fingal County Council’s plan to ensure that, as Swords continues to expand, the town grows sustainably and develops into a well-designed county capital. It will focus on reversing the historic shift away from Main Street, which commenced in the early 2000s, to facilitate better placemaking and create a more resilient town centre.
Source: Fingal County Council