Friday 23 August 2019

Ding Dong - Dublin's 129-year old Diving Bell gets a mechanical makeover

The Diving Bell has been given a complete make over. Photo: You Tube/Kelcom
The Diving Bell has been given a complete make over. Photo: You Tube/Kelcom

Sarah Jane Murphy

One of Dublin's well-known landmarks has undergone a four-month facelift.

Many people will be familiar with the Diving Bell which has been situated on Dublin's Sir John Rogerson's Quay since 1866.

It was used during the construction of Dublin port’s quay walls, and remained operational until 1958.

Since then it has stood as a well-known landmark which is passed by thousands of people every day - many of whom may not know its original purpose.

When it was operational, the Diving Bell was lowered into position on the Liffey bed, pumping water out and allowing compressed air in.

Workers would then enter a tunnel at the top of the Bell and travel down through an airlock within the structure to where they could safely use machinery to level the floor of the river.

However they could only work in 30-minute shifts due to the excessive heat build up in the chamber.

Earlier this year, as part of the Dublin Port redevelopment, Weslin Construction were tasked with renovating the iconic structure.

A 350 tonne crane was used to lift the Bell, which is 13 metres tall and weighs 90 tonnes, 10 metres lower than it's original position. 

There it was given a face-lift with the use of specialist painting and blast cleaning.

The renovated Diving Bell was then lifted on top of a newly constructed structure on the quayside.

A water feature was built underneath the Bell, containing an interpretive exhibition with panels explaining the historical and engineering significance of the piece of engineering.

You can see the various stages of the four-month facelift here. 


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