Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Waterford city is being transformed before our eyes

The newly named Menapia Building and home to the House of Waterford Crystal will be formally opened next week. The former ESB building has been transformed into something special. The ground floor is the entrance to the new Waterford Crystal building, provides access to the crystal manufacturing tour and a magnificent showroom which would not look out of place in Fifth Avenue Manhattan. The remaining floors will be utilised by the Roads and Environment Departments of Waterford City Council.

Today the new Viking Triangle Walking Tour commenced. It takes in the Plaza at Waterford Crystal, Reginalds Tower, Greyfriars, 13th Century Choristers Hall, the Medieval Mayors Wine Vault, Christchurch Cathedral, Bishops Palace, the recently revamped Theatre Royal, City Hall and the Thomas Francis Meagher Memorial. The 18th Century Bishops Palace building will be restored to its original state and will be one of three museums in the Viking triangle. A splendid 18th Century Garden will surround the Bishops Palace building.

What is so exciting is that this is only the beginning. The council intends to forge ahead with plans to build an iconic building on the quay. A 10,000 sq ft barge will be constructed out onto the river either side of the Clock Tower. This will become the permanent home of the House of Waterford Crystal. Parts of the Menapia building and its surrounding buildings will eventually become a craft village creating local employment.

The quay itself is to be transformed. The four lane system will be replaced with two lanes separated in sections by tree lined wedges. A new roundabout will be placed at the Kiezer Street entrance and another at the Gladstone Street entrance on the quay. The exciting new plans will also include bus and cycle lanes on stretches of the quay from Rice Bridge to the corner of Colebeck Street on the Mall. The new infrastructure provided under the Green Routes will hopefully be matched by investment in improved bus services. While Waterford faces many social problems and far too many of our citizens have no jobs the positive work of Waterford City Council and others must not go unnoticed. Our city is being transformed before our eyes and it is wonderful sight.

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