Council to examine cost of emergency repairs for Cork's Shandon Clock
AN IRISH council is to examine the cost of emergency repairs to one of the country's most famous tourist landmarks, Cork's Shandon Clock.
The clock, known locally as 'the four faced liar' because its various clock faces consistently display different times, is regarded as Cork's equivalent to Big Ben in London.
However, the clock - which is topped by a salmon wind vane nicknamed 'the goldie fish' - hasn't been working for almost three weeks.
Cork City Council said they were aware of the problem but couldn't opt for a quick-fix solution because the clock's mechanism is now so old it requires expert repair.
Furthermore, the clock's last major service occurred in 1990 and repairs could prove extensive and costly.
However, the council is now to fast-track a repair estimate amid an outcry from local politicians, community groups and tourism interests.
Former Trade Minister and Cork TD Billy Kelleher (FF) said Shandon ranks alongside Blarney Castle and St Fin Barre's Cathedral as an iconic image of Ireland's second city.
"Cork without a working Shandon Clock would be like Paris without the Eiffel Tower lit up, New York without the Empire State building being open or London without Big Ben working," he said.
Cork community campaigner, Barry Keane, said the council should consider low cost options as a temporary measure if expert repairs prove costly or unavailable until 2014.
Shandon's four clock faces have now been stuck at 6.50pm for the past three weeks.
Cork City Council said it would likely have to consult a UK-based clock repair firm to determine the scale and cost of Shandon's repairs.
Such is Shandon's place in Cork folklore that it has been lauded in ballads, poems and was even the emblem of Cork used in the famous Guinness Christmas ad.
Former Taoiseach and GAA legend Jack Lynch grew up near the foot of Shandon and was a lifelong promoter of it as a tourist attraction