Heritage Led Regeneration of O'Connell Street, Sligo (Phase 1)
O'Connell Street Sligo is Sligo's premier shopping and retail street and is located in the centre of the historic core. Linking the medieval street pattern with the quays to the north, the street contributes to the overall quality of the historic streetscape within the O'Connell Street Architectural Conservation Area.
While the town centre and adjoining streets have suffered from dereliction and high vacancy rates, O'Connell Street has remained a vital part of the business and retail prescint of the town, thanks to the ongoing efforts of the retailers. All recognise that a vibrant historic core is important for the vitailty of the town centre.
Conservation works undertaken included roof and chimney repairs, installation of cast-iron rainwater goods, reinstatement of timber sash windows, the repair of masonry render and painting, the repair of historic shopfronts using traditional materials and informed by best conservation practice. The works have secured the building envelopes to ensure continued business and retail use and adaptive reuse.
The Historic Towns Initiative has built on other initiatives including the Sligo City Public Realm Plan, the O'Connell Street Public Realm Enhancement Works and the Collaborative Town Centre Health Check for Sligo. The partnership between the business owners, Sligo County Council and Dedalus Architecture established under the HTI faciltated the conservation of important aspects of Sligo's built heritage and contrbuted to heritage-led regeneration. The HTI works were funded by The Heritage Council, The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Sligo County Council and the business owners.
The HTI supported the heritage-led regeneration of O'Connell Street Sligo (Phase 1). The heritage benefits included the transformation of the southern section of the O'Connell Street ACA, the retention of historic fabric, the securing of the building envelopes and the conservation and reinstatement of important aspects of the built and cultural heritage of the street. The works supported the business owners to invest in and to realise the full potential and benefit of the historic buildings and street that they trade from. An additional benefit was bringing abandoned upper floors back into use for storage or office space. The local community through Sligo BID, Sligo Chamber of Commerce and Sligo Tidy Towns shared and supported the vision for heritage-led regeneration by recognising that our built heritage is a key contributor to the attractiveness of the town centre and provides a sense of place for all communities. The project is a model of how focused heritage-led regeneration at scale can be delivered in partnership with the business sector and how such initiatives can halt the decline of historic town centres while leveraging investment from the private sector for the benefit of the traders adn the local community.