Value Creation | Intellectual Property

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PROPOSAL FOR SLIGO DOCKLANDS + CULTURAL CENTERPIECE :                                      Initiated in 2016 as 'Sligo 2030' prior to launch of Ireland 2040 Consultation. Buildings are Somewhat Indicative                  


Case for a Core Tourist Attraction within the Future Docklands area of Sligo

The Proposal highlights Cultural Potential for the future of the Docklands area of Sligo, alongside the standard Commercial Development model. Ideally this would be a cluster of buildings of high Architectural quality with a Centerpiece Building of International Significance, and would be a Driver for both Sligo and the North Wests ambitions to grow under the National Planning Framework.

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Suggested Buildings 

  • Anchor Building - International Cultural Attraction - Mythology + Regional Archaeology / Armada Heritage

  • Gateway Tower - 10 Storey with Glazed Rooftop Lounge Bar : Adaptable for Hotel or Office Space

  • Linear Park : Maratime Exibits, Sculptures, Playground, Watersports+Outdoor Fitness facilities,Wind Trees

  • Residential Quarter + New Streets - Height Varies. Typically 4 to 6 Storeys South + West Facing Balconies

  • Creative Hub , Archaeological Annex to Sligo I.T. with Commercial Units Under ( Restaraunts etc )

  • Waiting Areas for Boat Tours , Tourist Info. Kiosk , Public Wc.s , Provision for Future People Moving System

  • Office Space with on site Facilities for Employees - Creche, Gym etc

  • Future Student Accommodation for IT Sligo

  • Wellness Center for Elderly Citizens

Broader Docklands Potential ( Not Illustrated above )

  • Innovation / Technology / Business Hub

  • South Facing Waterfront Housing to North Cartron Edge

  • Localised Power Grid supplemented by Wind Trees, Tidal, Solar etc.

  • Preplanned District Heating / Cooling System 

  • Multi Storey Car Park with Planted Facades / Relocated Sports Ground

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Potential Cultural Building + Ancillary Buildings to Waterfront shown indicative with Linear Park extending West

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Case for Proposal - why Sligo ?

Sligo is the Regional Capital of the North West of Ireland and is well positioned Geographically to influence the Growth of the entire North West Region. In order for Sligo to grow into a City it requires significant Government and Private Investment. Innovative Proposals which Illustrate the Potential Future Urban Fabric of Sligo can strengthen the case for such Investment. 

Sligo is situated within a Landscape of Outstanding Natural Beauty. However in terms of an Urban 'Destination' it lacks Critical Mass required to attract and retain Visitors. Sligo requires an Attraction of a Scale which could act as a Catalyst for its growth as a thriving City. A Cultural Building whose Scale and Function would compliment and consolidate the array of Heritage Sites and Natural Attractions in the North West Region.

Some Typical Urban Landscapes : New Streets / Squares / Vistas

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Residential Square, Listed Buildings and Cultural Building beyond

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New Residential Street and Vista toward Public Plaza + Cultural Attraction.

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Typical Residential Square

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Sligo Docklands Development Plan + Backround to the Proposal

Sligo Development Plan makes provision for the future Regeneration of the Docklands. Sligo Borough Council has previously published a Document which indicates Potential for the Docklands (2007). This Framework suggests a Feature Tower, a Riverside Park, a New Transport Hub, a possible Light Rail route, and Anchor buildings ( ie. Conference Centre ). My Proposal extrapolates on this in terms of Brief Development , Masterplan Layout and Architectural Form. 

A Unique International Tourist Attraction could be placed at the Core of the Masterplan. In addition, the Masterplan might include departure points for Boat Tours, a new Archaeology Dept for Sligo IT and a Creative Hub possibly including Film Studios & Space Stages. The remainder would comprise Residential and Commercial, and a Business Quarter Further West to close the Link with the Existing Industrial Estate.

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Development Proposal Description


A County Museum intended to act as a Centre for discovering the Material Culture of Sligos Past and as a centre for Regional Archaeological Excellence has previously been proposed for the Forthill area of Sligo. This was part of a Competition winning entry for the Model Niland Quarter. Construction began in 2008 but was abandoned after groundworks were completed.  This Proposal makes a case for a larger building where the previously planned Museum broadens in Scope, and combines with an Interpretation Center focused on Mythology to provide a Substantial International Tourist Attraction. 


The Docklands being a more accessible location for Visitors presents an opportunity to use a Waterfront setting and Linear Park as a logical extension of a Cultural Building. Exibits relating to Regional Maratime Archaeology ( Spanish Armada ) and Ancient Trade could now be introduced.  An enlarged building could be justified by the repatriation of Armada Artefacts and lending on Rotation of some Regional Artefacts from the stock of the National Museum. The Museum Scope could explore origins of Irish Mythology and the relationships with successive migrations to Ireland in Antiquity.

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Development Phasing


The Development would comprise a Commercial Element and a Cultural element which would allow for Phased Construction and Occupancy. The Commercial element might comprise a Gateway Tower and would likely be a 3 or 4 star Hotel with allowance for Adaptability.  At the Ground levels would be Cafe / Retail space. At Rooftop LeveI a Bespoke Lounge Bar / Restaurant with 360 views over the Sligo hinterland. A direct visual connection to the Mythological and Megalithic landscape.


For the Cultural Element, a reference to a Megalithic Structure is proposed - Archaic in Form and differentiated from surrounding buildings. A Central Courtyard or Atrium could house Large Exibits. Visitors would circulate around this to Galleries  / Auditorium space. The Building would be primarily Orientated to the Waterfront opening onto a Public Plaza. The Harbourfront might become a launch point to complimentary attractions. 

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Archaeology / Mythology


The North West offers an unusually high concentration of sites of Archaeological importance. The Immediate Sligo Hinterland has one of the highest densities of Prehistoric Archaeological sites in Ireland. It is the only place in which all classes of Irish megalithic monuments are to be found together. Sligo is an obvious choice as a Hub to serve outlying Sites such as Ceide Fields. The Introduction of a Visitor Attraction also focused on Irish Mythology could compliment these existing attractions and reinforce their appeal. The most prominent Natural landmarks associated with Sligo and its wider hinterland are associated with well known tales from Irish Mythology. With the advent of the Digital Age, Ireland has a fresh opportunity to present its Mythology to a Global Audience via a Film / Television Series creating Employment Opportunities.

Example of Possible Development Mix

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Alternative Masterplan with Cultural Centrepiece moved 1 Block West. Cairn / Hill Fort Structure with Terraced Public Gardens. (2019)

National Planning Framework  -  Should Sligo Aspire to be one of Irelands 10 Largest Urban Areas ?

Sligo Docklands contains many sites of Greenfield and Brownfield Development Potential with Strategic Regional Value relative to the exisiting built fabric of Sligo. In order for the Town of Sligo to grow into a City capable of attracting Future Investment and Employment it must look to the Docklands for Expansion. From Sligo County Council Website "The proximity to the city centre, the waterfront along the Garavogue Estuary, the unparalleled views of Benbulben, Knocknarea and the sea, the variety of greenfield and brownfield lands with development potential – all these features confer a special character to the wider Docklands area.

The Docklands LAP needs a clear vision of what it hopes to achieve, and how this will bring benefits in the long term, if it is to be effective in regenerating the area" 

Tourism and Spin Off / Parallel Employment Potential

Sligo and the North West needs a Core Urban Attraction which will retain Tourists traversing the Region. The Tourist market is underrepresented in the Northwest in comparison to the Ring of Kerry, Burren or Connemara. A Unique Tourist Attraction in the North West could strengthen its Position relative to the rest of Ireland and be a Catalyst for the Development of Emerging Tourist markets.

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