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Monday 18 December 2017

Bridging gap of viaduct's star potential

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

IT was once the dramatic backdrop to an amazing aerial dare between two ace German pilots. Now, the once-imposing steel and stone bridge stands rusted and abandoned.

But a campaign has been launched to turn the 19th Century Irish railway bridge that featured in a Hollywood war epic into a top tourist attraction.

Fermoy Viaduct -- which spans the River Blackwater in north Cork -- is best known for its starring role in the 1966 World War One film, 'The Blue Max'.

The filming took place over six weeks in Fermoy in October 1965. However, just two years after its moment of fame, the bridge was left idle when the Mallow-Waterford line was shut down in 1967.

A plan 10 years ago to turn it into a bungee-jumping facility came to nothing -- but now local historian Paudie Grath and designer Gerry Condon are hoping to exploit the structure's heritage potential.

"I think the structure has huge potential -- it is accessible from roads on either side of the river and the views from the viaduct are absolutely incredible," Mr McGrath said.

Mr Condon has proposed using the old railway bridge in a similar manner to New York's High Line Park, which was originally a disused railway line that had become an eyesore.

Irish Independent

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