There’s a plan to renovate the brilliant Magazine Fort, a bastion fort in the Phoenix Park. Built in 1785 (and added to over the years), it’s a brilliant building, but is in terrible condition.
In October 2021, the Office of Public Works announced plans to renovate, restore, and protect the building. You can see some of those plans covered in the Irish Times here (the video is worth a look). The official OPW press release on the project is here.
My view is that the plans look great and we need to advance them as soon as possible. It’s such a magic spot, and it should loom much larger as a part of Dublin’s history.
A few people have asked what’s been going on with the project. I submitted parliamentary questions via Patrick Costello TD (thanks Patrick!), asking for a timeline and if funding was secured.
The full answers (from April 2022, March and December 2023) are below, but the latest key points are:
- They’re going to approach it in phases.
- Phase 1 involves
- stabilisation and structural repairs to the rampart walls;
- roof and structural repairs to the vaulted magazine store buildings;
- conservation refurbishment works to the bakery and
- minor drainage works surrounding the Magazine Store Buildings
- This contractor for this phase was appointed in May 2023. Works are ongoing and should be done by mid-2025.
- There’s no timeline yet for the second phase.
- So far, €5m is allocated from the OPW budget. No further cost estimates are available yet.
Myself and Patrick Costello will keep on it and make sure it doesn’t slip off the agenda. A previous answer (from the same question on 6th April 2022) is at the bottom of this post.
Full parliamentary question and answer (December 2023):
Planning permission was granted by Dublin City Council in August 2022 for works to conserve the Magazine Fort in the Phoenix Park and to provide visitor facilities at the site. The main contractor for the conservation works was appointed by the Office of Public Works in May 2023.
The purpose of this first phase of works is to stabilise and repair the rampart walls, the magazine store buildings, the corrugated metal building and the repair and reconstruction of the entrance archway. These conservation works are currently expected to be completed in mid-2025.
Preparation is underway for the second phase of works to create the visitor experience at the site. A timeline, for the opening of the site to general public- access, is not yet available but will be provided to you as soon as it is developed.
Full parliamentary question and answer (March 2023):
Q. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of the proposed renovation of the Magazine Fort in the Phoenix Park; if funding has been assigned to the project; if so, the amount; the proposed timeline for works to commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
A. The Office of Public Works has developed plans for the restoration of the Magazine Fort, Phoenix Park, and has received the necessary planning permission from Dublin City Council in 2022.
The OPW has already tendered for Phase 1 of the restoration works i.e. the Structural Stabilisation and Repair Works to the rampart walls, along with some other buildings which have been prioritised for conservation attention. This process will conclude shortly. The Office of Public Works will appoint a main contractor and it is anticipated that the project will begin on site in Summer 2023. Exact costs cannot be confirmed at this juncture but as previously advised, the OPW will fund the total project cost of these works from within its own Vote.
It is expected that the programme for this phase of works will be be approximately twenty four months in duration.
Previous answer to same question (April 2022):
A. “The Magazine Fort in the Phoenix Park is the major surviving Magazine Fort in the country. The complex has had a long history of continuous use spanning three centuries and is considered to have special architectural, military, historical, social and archaeological interest. The Magazine Fort came into the care of the Office of Public Works (OPW) in the 1980’s from the Department of Defence. It is a Protected Structure in the Dublin City Council Development Plan 2016 – 2022.
“Over the years, the OPW has undertaken certain works to protect the site and provide some minimal public access but is now embarking on a more substantial programme to conserve the Magazine Fort. The condition of the buildings and rampart walls is poor due to a series of interventions over the centuries. The OPW has commissioned a team of experts to progress the restoration and conservation of this unique fortification.
“This is a complex conservation project which will be addressed in a phased manner. The first phase of the project will focus on the stabilisation and structural repairs to the Rampart walls; roof and structural repairs to the Vaulted Magazine Store Buildings; conservation refurbishment works to the Bakery and minor drainage works surrounding the Magazine Store Buildings. This first phase of works will be tendered in May and it is anticipated that works will commence on site later this year. These works will be funded from within the OPW vote and total costs for this phase will be in the region of €5 million.”