Longford acts as an important administrative and major services centre for the county area and beyond. The 2011 census recorded a population of 39.000 but it is expected that this has well surpassed the 40.000 mark currently. Longford is the fourth smallest county area in the state and its location in the centre of Ireland marks the frontier between the economic powerhouse of the eastern greater Dublin Region and the ‘rugged and traditional’ Ireland of the west
Project area description / Connolly Barracks is set in the Northern Quarter of Longford Town, which is the historic town core. This area originally consisted of a castle and a market house. The site was developed as an army barracks in the late 18th century and was handed over to the Irish state in 1922. It was in operation until 2009 when the army left the site and the town. This resulted in the loss of 200 jobs to the town. The site is approximately 7.6 hectares in total. Following the closure of the barracks, the overall site was subdivided and the Longford Westmeath Education and Training Board purchased a portion of the site, which opens onto Battery Road and has developed it as an education and training centre. Longford County Council purchased the remaining 5.1 hectares. This area in the ownership of Longford County Council comprises the principal element of the Barracks complex, which formerly housed the accommodation for officers and officer’s mess. There are also a number of smaller ancillary buildings, many of which are in very poor condition and a large open field to the rear of the site, which is bounded to the south by the River Camlin.
Project area challenge / Connolly Barracks is located within the Town Core and is a very important site for the future development of Longford. Due to the location and nature of the site, the redevelopment of this site is seen as an economic driver for the regeneration of the town and the wider region. Between the former army barracks and the adjoining site which previously housed a factory, 500 people were employed in this area of the town. Currently there are no jobs in this part of the town, which has had a detrimental impact on this area of the town. The redevelopment of Connolly Barracks has the potential to turn this around. Therefore, it is proposed that Connolly Barracks will develop as a Longford Hub for the region and for the city itself. It will also represent a new landmark for the city in terms of spaces for the cultural activities of the local communities; a place where you can find local productions (handicrafts, quality agricultural products, tourist offerings, etc.) and to be used as a tool to link the generations of Longford people, that they realise the proud history of their town and make the people of Longford proud of their town again.
Project area location