Fáilte Ireland has announced funding of €9 million to build outdoor dining spaces across Ireland over the next six months.
As the summer draws to a close, a variety of designs are likely to emerge across 38 sites.
“These structures are designed [with] full understanding of what the Irish climate is and once you have the right kind of roofing, the right kind of shelter, the right kind of heating etc then it is possible to have a very pleasant outdoor dining experience,” said chief executive Paul Kelly.
“Possibly not through all the winter and I don’t think there’s going to be many people out dining in red weather alerts; we wouldn’t be recommending that.”
Mr Kelly said the structures will be purpose designed and purpose built.
Whatever challenges a reliably bleak Irish winter might bring, the Fáilte Ireland strategy extends far beyond the coming seasons – officials are hoping consumers may begin to embrace an outdoor way of life in something of a silver-lining opportunity emerging from Covid-19.
With expectations of a Viking design for coastal Howth in north Co Dublin, where the funding was launched on Wednesday, the initiative offers each location an opportunity to bring creative local colour.
Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin, also attending the launch, said if there could be a positive from Covid, it might be the reimagining of public space.
“[From] Sligo, Bundoran to Killarney and Dingle and here; actually Howth has that benefit that not only is it for outdoor dining space but it will also be a performance space and that brings a sense of community to the area,” she said.
Officially labelled the Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme, management of each will differ from location to location but all are expected to cater for customers of multiple businesses. The 38 schemes to have received funding will be subject to planning and public consultation, although some have begun in earnest.
It is designed to enhance streets and public areas in “urban tourism centres . . . similar to those that exist in various European cities”.
Each local authority can apply for €200,000 for up to two locations with some additional funding available in certain circumstances. They are expected to go into use, variously, between October and next St Patrick’s Day.
A separate aspect of the scheme, offering relatively smaller grants to individual businesses for outdoor improvements, remains open for applications until the end of September.
Full list of outdoor dining areas announced:
Main St, Borris (€61,000)
Tullow St Upper, Carlow (€133,357)
Ennis Town Centre, Francis Street, Lr Parnell St, Abbey Street car park, Templegate Plaza (€186,975)
Beasley St, (€236,160)
Caroline St, (€375,083)
Pembroke St, (€302,187)
Princess St, (€112,150)
Union Quay (€284,130)
The Quays, Bantry (€221,595)
Short Quay, Kinsale (€215,110)
Merrion Row, (€255,312)
Suffolk St, (€351,786)
Capel St (€742,095)
Bundoran Oceanside, West End car park (€126,840)
Port Road, Letterkenny (€137,000)
Harbour Green Howth (€600,000)
Boat Yard, Dingle (€292,118)
Kenmare Place, Killarney (€604,505)
Main Street, Naas (€187,275)
Market Yard, Kilkenny City (€649,000)
Dublin Road, Durrow (€32,348)
Hynd’s Square, Portlaoise (€129,446)
Limerick City (€750,000)
Main Street, Ballymahon (€104,562)
The Green, Carlingford (€118,000)
Earl Street, Dundalk (€82,000)
Market Square, Castlebar (€98,725)
Market Square, Claremorris (€101,300)
O’Connor Square, Bridge St, Millennium Square, Tullamore (€200,000)
The Square, Enniscrone (€94,772)
Tobergal Lane, Sligo Town (€265,160)
East Lane & Mary St Mall Clonmel (€113,800)
Old Baker Street, Thurles (€86,200)
Waterford City Trail - Bailey’s New Street to
O’Connell Street/John Street (€354,919)
Grattan Square, Dungarvan (€151,774)
Monck Street, Wexford Town (€228,000)
Abbey Lane, Arklow (€81,000)
Market Square, Wicklow Town (€118,624)