The imagined future of Tullamore Harbour achieved incrementally by phased development. Photo: Tullamore Grand Canal Harbour Masterplan Framework

Exciting new blueprint for Tullamore Harbour future

A dramatic blueprint to fundamentally reimagine Tullamore Harbour had been published.

The Tullamore Grand Canal Harbour Masterplan Framework images the harbour area as for an immersive waterfront destination with multidimensional uses for citizens, residents, enterprises, and visitors.

The plan is designed to devise a pathway for the harbour area to be a centre of commerce, recreation and a place to live and visit.

Public views are now being sought on the transformative plans – and an open day is to be held on Thursday next, June 20, at Tullamore Library.

The detailed masterplan, published on Thursday, reimagines the harbour area through a catalogue of development opportunities.

The study area includes the Grand Canal Harbour and adjacent lands, the Canal Spur Line enabling access into the harbour basin, and Young’s Store - a three-storey former warehouse with an approximate floor area of 275 square metres fronting the canal along Convent Road.

Looking towards the gate at St Mary's Youth Centre and Creche within the harbour with a terrace of shops/studios to the right and the Dry Dock on the left. Photo: Tullamore Grand Canal Harbour Masterplan Framework
An imagined view from the east bank of the Canal Spur towards the revitalised harbour area. Photo: Tullamore Grand Canal Harbour Masterplan Frarmework.
A night scene in the reimagined workshop area. Photo: Tullamore Grand Canal Harbour Masterplan Framework.

One of its central aims is to reconnect the redeveloped harbour to the rest of the town and enable it to become a vibrant economic and social quarter for living, working and leisure.

Together with O’Connor Square and Market Square, Grand Canal Harbour can become a new and unique space – a Water Square – a hub of activity,

The new plan highlights a menu of opportunities and identifies four key locations within the harbour as strategic locations for development: one at the south of the Canal Spur, where a building would act as welcoming marker to the town from the canal, another on the northeastern ‘peninsula’ of the harbour, accessed from St. Brigid’s Place; and at two other positions inside the existing limestone walls along the western and southern boundaries.

The plan imagines St. Brigid’s Place as “a significant, destination and welcoming space” for boating visitors.

The catalogue of opportunities, represents a menu of possibilities, each of which, the masterplan says, can contribute to the revitalising of the harbour and this part of Tullamore. The menu approach allows the possibility of choosing various combinations of a number of opportunities to achieve a vibrant and successful transformation.

The opportunities listed includes modifications to the surrounding streets; suggested new entrance points into the harbour; the restoration of the highly crafted, late 18th C. magnificent stonework of the Canal Harbour, the Dry Dock, the Canal Spur and Young’s Store; as well as locations for possible development.

It also envisages the transformation of O’Carroll Street as a pedestrian-friendly boulevard within the town.

The entire concept has been enabled by a decision by Waterways Ireland to relocate its depot from the Tullamore Harbour site in the centre of Tullamore to a new greenfield location 1km east of the town.

This paved the way for an opportunity to envision future redevelopment of the harbour area, the first opportunity in over 70 years to unlock public access to the harbour site.

“The prospect of owning a harbour in the very heart of an urban setting is a rare and much aspired natural asset for both public bodies and developers,” the masterplan states.

The masterplan was drawn up by Grafton Architects. With its publication yesterday (Thursday), Offaly County Council with Waterways Ireland and Grafton Architects are now seeking public views to ensure that the Tullamore Grand Canal Harbour Masterplan meets the aspirations of the community.

The masterplan says the menu of opportunities will be subject to detailed cost benefit assessment and contingent on achieving the right funding model at the appropriate time.

The masterplan states that Waterways Ireland and Offaly County Council will continue working with various partners to achieve phased redevelopment of the Harbour area, inclusive of the basin, adjoining Canal Spur Line, and Young’s Store. The next planning phase will involve the establishment of a Working Group to prioritise opportunities for development, identify related funding sources, and development models.

The Tullamore Grand Canal Harbour Masterplan is available for inspection in the offices of Offaly County Council, Áras an Chontae, Tullamore Municipal District, Tullamore Library during normal office hours up to July 11. An open day will be held in Tullamore Library on 20th June from 12pm to 7pm.

Submissions or observations with respect to the proposed Tullamore Grand Canal Harbour Masterplan Framework may be made in writing to Tullamore Municipal District, Town Hall, Cormac Street, Tullamore or submitted via email to on or before July 25.

The Tullamore Grand Canal Harbour Masterplan is funded by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund 2020 (URDF), co-funding by Offaly County Council and Waterways Ireland.