Tramore Coast Guard Station was built in 1874 to provide a base for the regional Irish Coastguard Branch and also residential facilities for the men who worked there. The complex of building consists of an officer’s residence, a terrace of houses, a fortified lookout tower and a boathouse. The 1874 design was by the Office of Public Works who was also again responsible for its restoration in 2004.
The main building was used as a coastguard station until 1922, and was occupied by the Gardai until the early 90’s. Tragically, a fire in October 2000 destroyed the majority of the building.
A structural report, completed shortly after the fire, recommended that all the internal partitions, floors, stairs and timber elements be removed for safety reasons. The external and internal dividing walls were the only substantial structural elements remaining in the fire damaged section of the building. The chimneys were free standing as a result of the roof collapse.
The building remained abandoned for many years until it’s potential was identified by the Tramore Development Trust when a full assessment survey was carried out of all available building stock in Tramore. The Community Plan prepared by the TDT identified it as a key project to match a suitable community facility that would ensure its restoration for use as a viable community asset.
Objective No 1. – Community Facilities:
“Ensure developments at the former Coastguard Station are of benefit to a wide cross section of our community”
TDT approached the Office of Public Works to investigate the feasibility of restoring the building. As a result, Martin Cullen TD, who at the time was the Minister for State in charge of the Office of Public Works [OPW], offered the building to the people of Tramore, on condition that a suitable and viable project for community use could be identified
TDT undertook a measured and condition survey of the building with the assistance of Architectural students from WIT
The Directors of TDT prepared an architectural design proposal and report which outlined a use for a much needed community cultural arts centre for the building. This proposal was adopted by Tramore Town Commissioners and was subsequently accepted by the OPW and Waterford County Council
The project was undertaken by the OPW and the building has been magnificently restored at a cost of more than €3 million and has since become a huge asset to the public of Tramore and to the community at large.
The building was divided in two and was partly occupied by the Coast Guard and the remainder of the building was given over to community use and TDT committed to operating the building for this use under a lease agreement with Waterford County Council. The building was officially launched and opened in 2004.
Since then the TDT has operated a very successful Community Cultural Arts Centre at the Coastguard Cultural Centre which has since expanded to house a community café that uses community employment programmes as much as possible. The office facilities for TDT are also located in the building.
The upper floor of the building is used for art exhibitions, concerts, poetry readings, yoga classes, flower arranging classes etc.