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BDP helps to open the outdoors in Ireland

Our innovative outdoor seating and public realm concepts have been incorporated into a visionary new report into the creation of safer outdoor spaces as Ireland enters the next stage of its Covid-recovery plans.  

The landscape architecture team worked with Fáilte Ireland to set out best practice guidelines for retail and hospitality businesses that wish to accommodate a wide range of users in outdoor environments. The document sets out what looks good through diagrams and existing precedents of streets and public spaces.

The Outdoor Dining and Urban Animation report helps businesses to consider layout, character and effective use of existing areas such as parklets, temporary pedestrianised spaces and public squares. It also provides guidance on seating, winterproofing, lighting, planting, heating and signage as well as providing tips to attract people back into towns and to install new public art. 

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Dublin City Council

The approach is part of Fáilte Ireland’s new Outdoor Dining Enhancement Investment Scheme, which, in partnership with Local Authorities, will work to facilitate greater capacity in outdoor dining. The scheme is supporting Local Authorities and hospitality businesses to upgrade and enhance streets and public spaces and implement weather-proofing solutions.  

Landscape architect director Mehron Kirk, explains: “This report is about ensuring the short and long term economic and social sustainability of local areas but also creating busy, animated and exciting outdoor spaces for people to enjoy. We’ve all been eager to return to pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels and these guidelines set a clear vision for the creation of engaging and animated outdoor spaces and streets surrounding and adjacent to the businesses that are in real need of a boost.”

“We are extremely proud of this approach, not just because it will help Irish businesses to bounce back stronger and sooner but because of the type of environments these guidelines seek to create. For example, our inclusive design ideas include measures which increase biodiversity, enhance the identity of the area, facilitate spontaneous events and generate relaxing spaces that promote public safety and wellbeing. We are very excited about seeing the outcomes.”


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Fáilte Ireland’s Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme comprises two parts and will be delivered in partnership between Fáilte Ireland and Local Authorities across the country. Part One of the Scheme provides funding for individual tourism and hospitality businesses to develop and increase their own outdoor seating capacity.  Funding allocated under Part Two enables Local Authorities to develop permanent outdoor public dining spaces in towns and urban centres, similar to those that exist in various European cities. 

Catherine Martin, minister for Tourism, explains:  “This scheme has two main objectives: firstly, to enable individual tourism and hospitality businesses increase their dining and seating capacity in the short-term and secondly to enable a long-term strategy for local authorities to develop appropriate permanent weatherproofed outdoor dining infrastructure. The aim is to support jobs and businesses and to transform appropriate outdoor spaces within our cities and towns as welcoming, vibrant places that will help support economic recovery.”


The Outdoor Dining and Urban Animation report is available here: 

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