Rebuilding this historic crossing was never a bridge too far
THE new Mizen Head footbridge, which spans a dramatic gorge at the tip of the scenic west Cork peninsula, was officially reopened yesterday following a complete reconstruction programme.
At 52 metres, it was the longest concrete arch bridge in the world when built in 1909.
The original bridge spanned the 47-metre deep gorge connecting the mainland to Cloghane Island and was subject to severe Atlantic weather for more than 100 years.
The elements eventually took their toll on the structure, which is part of the Mizen Head Signal Station visitor centre, and it was decided to completely rebuild the bridge to its original design. It was originally used to provide access for Commissioners of Irish Lights staff to the fog signal station at Mizen Head.
In recent years, it has become a major tourist attraction, with 50,000 visitors a year crossing the bridge.
A temporary bridge was put in place in 2005 and work began on the reconstruction in 2009.
The reconstruction cost €1.8m and was jointly funded by Cork County Council, Failte Ireland and the Commissioners of Irish Lights.
The original contract price in 1908 was IR£1,272. Workers used rope ladders to construct the bridge foundations on the dangerous cliff faces.