Creative reuse of vacant military barracks is the key to revitalizing an Irish town

Imaginative repruposing, renewing, and reconnecting of the 19th century Military Barracks holds the key to the future regeneration of Castlebar, in County Mayo, Ireland. It is the largest town in County Mayo and the 3rd largest in Connacht.

Matt Stephens, an architect with Mayo County Council, claims that the future of the county town and the now disused 6.2 acre barracks site are inextricably linked.

The site was obtained from the Department of Defence in 2012 and there are long term proposals to develop it.

A wide variety of proposals have surfaced:

  • a roofed-in visitor center and creative areas for the development of arts, crafts and culture;
  • an elevator shaft connecting the property to Castle Street carpark;
  • a “water powered funicular railway” in and out of the site as a means of attracting visitors to the town; and
  • covering the entire parade ground and using the area as a major center for environmental studies.

It’s not just about the barracks, Mr. Stephens said. “Our principal ambition is to revitalise the town centre,” he stated.

Photo of the closure ceremony of Castlebar_Barracks via the Irish Defence Forces.

See full article by Tom Shiel in the Connacht Telegraph

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