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18th century cellars filled with concrete

CONCRETE is being poured into some of the oldest street cellars in the country amid fears they could collapse.

Limerick City Council confirmed the 200-year-old underground cellars that run beneath the busiest streets in the city were being packed with concrete as they were not designed to take the traffic passing overhead.

The cellars were built in the late 18th century when construction on the Newtown Pery area of Limerick -- the modern-day city centre -- began.

The cellars are underneath both sides of the street, are separated by end walls, and have a sewer in the middle.

Some of the cellars along William Street have been filled in recent weeks.

"Some of these cellars are damaged, they have cracks in their roofs and are unsafe," said senior engineer with Limerick City Council, Vincent Murray. "Basically, when they were constructed, they were designed for horses and carts and not the traffic we have going through the city these days.

"Our project team surveyed them all and some of them have to be decommissioned.

"The roofs are taken off them and they are then filled with a medium-strength concrete. It is a foam concrete which will fill in all the crevices and gaps," he said.

The exact number of cellars being filled in was not known.

Limerick city councillor Diarmuid Scully said it was a pity, but added that it was a regrettable necessity.

"It took 100 years to build all of these and they have held up well," Mr Scully said.

The councillor added that it would be necessary to do similar work on Limerick's main street -- O'Connell Street -- in the future.

Irish Independent