Lifetime Laboratory is located in the polychrome buildings of a nineteenth century waterworks on a steep hillside on the edge of Cork City. It was completed in 1863 and enlarged to take a second pumping engine in 1868. It closed during the 1970s after which many of the buildings were used for storage. Restoration was completed in 2006 and it is now reckoned the best-preserved waterworks in Ireland.
Exhibitions tell the story of how water was supplied to Cork over three centuries, but the interactive displays are also concerned with such themes as renewable energy. New uses have been found for the buildings that make up the complex. The boiler house is now the reception area, and the coal store has been adapted as a venue for conferences, meetings and theatrical performances. Traces can be seen of the steam pumping engines that once worked on the site, and visitors can also learn something of other aspects of Cork’s industrial heritage.