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 a parliamentary question via Patrick Costello TD (thanks Patrick!), asking for a timeline and if funding was secured.

The full answer (from 6th April 2022) is 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
  • They’re going to tender for a contractor for this phase in May 2022
  • Works should commence “later” in 2022
  • So far, €5m is allocated from the OPW budget.

Myself and Patrick Costello will keep on it and make sure it doesn’t slip off the agenda.

Full parliamentary question and answer:

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 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.”