Wilton Shopping Centre or the Wilton Regional Shopping Centre, as it was known then, first opened its doors on the 6th December 1979. It was officially opened by the Lord Mayor, Councillor Jim. A Corr. It was Cork City’s first indoor suburban complex and was Ireland’s first regional shopping centre. The developers were Wilton Securities Ltd, the architects were Cork architectural firm, Kelly and Barry and Associates and the main contractors were John O’ Donovan and Associates. The major tenants were Roches Stores occupying 40,000 sq. ft. at the northern end of the complex and Quinnsworth occupying 25,000 sq. ft at the southern end. At the time of opening the Cork Examiner stated “Wilton Centre investment determined by Cork housewives” and was “just what the housewife desires”. In 1979 Roches Stores boasted of a “no smoking rule throughout the Store, except in the Coffee Bar”. From Lordan’s you could purchase a “stereo cassette tape deck”, or a “Silver hi-rack system” for £376. Golden Discs were selling the Rolling Stones album, “Some Girls” for £3.99, Gaywear were selling “Fun clothes for Fun People” and Quinnsworth were offering a bottle of Paddy for £5.69 and a 6 pack of Guinness for £1.39.
In 2003 the Centre underwent a major extension with the addition of 10 new units and a Tesco Superstore which trades from 7.am to 1.am. In 2004 permission was granted to build a Library in Wilton Shopping Centre and Bishopstown Library opened in the Summer 2006. The anchor tenant of Penneys opened in the Centre in 2008. The Centre was acquired by retail investors and developers Clarendon Properties as part of a portfolio sale in 2015. They have adapted and significantly updated previous Wilton Centre owner Joe O’Donovan’s plans to enlarge the asset and in 2018 received planning permission for a 190-bed hotel set to serve hospital visitors among other guests, a 14-screen cinema, a public plaza, a giant two-storey Penneys unit, and some other “big box” new retail space, along with an 874-space multi-level carpark among other additional parking provisions.
Today the Centre has an annual footfall of over 100,000 people per week and a net operating income (NOI) of around €5.54m. It boats 60 retails units and employs over 600 members of staff.
Directions from Kerry:
Killarney follow Directions for Cork City. At Sarsfield Road Roundabout take first exit proceed to traffic lights and take left into Shopping Centre car park.
Follow directions for City Centre at Sarsfield Road Roundabout take first exit proceed to traffic lights and take left into Shopping Centre car park.
From North/City Centre:
Follow directions for West Cork at Sarsfield Road Roundabout take third exit proceed to traffic lights and take left into Shopping Centre car park.
You can also use the Route Planner on the AA Roadwatch website, www.aaroadwatch.ie to get directions from wherever you are to Wilton Shopping Centre.