THE historic bridge at Kilcrea Abbey is set to be closed "for a number of months" as the County Council go about the lengthy process of repairing the protected structure.
The bridge's closure was raised at last Friday's meeting of the Council's Macroom Area Committee, where officials conceded that they do not know how long the bridge will remain closed for.
A number of arches below the bridge may have been closed, engineers believe, for as long as 100 years which in itself raised health and safety issues for the consultants hired to assess the work required, the meeting heard. The bridge, built in the late 1700s, will take a long time to survey properly, it was claimed.
The subsequent maintenance will more than likely be "significant and complicated," councillors were told, with Part Eight planning permission necessary for works on a heritage site.
"Solving the problem would be easier if it wasn't the bridge it is," Engineer Fauchtna Keohane said, "it will more than likely be closed for a long, long time."
Committee Chairman Cllr Derry Canty (FG) said that it was important the landmarks such as Kilcrea Abbey are accessible during the year Ireland promotes "The Gathering," while Cllr Aindrias Moynihan (FF) praised the Council's work in changing directional signs in the area so as to avoid leading tourists to a dead end.