In the early 20th century Blackrock Castle was used as a meeting place for local organisations but had fallen into disrepair by 1930. In the 1960s it was acquired by a group of Cork businessmen for use as a bar, restaurant and more recently as commercial offices and even as a private residence. In 2001 the building was once again bought by Cork Corporation for IR£825,000.
The most recent work on the castle began in April 2002 with inspection and conservation of the remaining structures. On-site construction began in 2003 with roofing a major priority. All of the timber roofs were in poor condition and had to be replaced. Most of the concrete that had been poured during the 1960s had suffered from exposure to the elements and needed replacing.
During the works a policy of minimal intervention was adopted. This means that wherever possible, original structures would be preserved and incorporated into the new structure before the introduction of more modern materials. Knowing the past history of the castle it was decided that all new additions to the castle should be reversible wherever possible, in order to help preserve the original structure. Modern building techniques have been used to bring the castle into the 21st century. Under-floor heating was installed to eliminate damp and decay and corroded steel structural supports were replaced with stainless steel supports. Cabling and communications infrastructure was installed with minimal impact – chimneys and other pre-existing gaps were used to accommodate the wiring. The recent conservation work has now been completed and the building has begun its new life as CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory housing a Cork Institute of Technology research facility, a restaurant and bar and an award winning state of the art science exhibition.
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