Wednesday 18 September 2019

Dismantling work begins on Cork's historic 'Shakey Bridge' as part of €1.7m refurbishment programme

Daly's Bridge spanning the River Lee in Cork
Photo: Google Maps
Daly's Bridge spanning the River Lee in Cork Photo: Google Maps

Ralph Riegel

DISMANTLING work has commenced on an historic Irish river crossing nicknamed the 'Shakey Bridge' as part of a €1.7m refurbishment programme.

The repair programme was ordered amid mounting fears over recent years that the badly rusting Cork structure could be just one shake from partial collapse.

Daly's Bridge was opened to the public in 1927 as a strategic crossing of the northern channel of the River Lee.

It boasts a 48m wrought-iron span construction - and now ranks as the only surviving pedestrian suspension bridge of its type still in operation in Ireland.

The structure quickly became known as the 'Shakey Bridge' because of its famous wobble as pedestrians walked across.

A number of recent storms coupled with years of rust and decay have left parts of the structure badly damaged.

Steel cables have been disconnected and engineers are now working to allow sections of the main bridge structure to be removed by barge.

The barge will be used to bring them to a quay section where they can be removed for specialist restoration and repair work.

Cork historian Councillor Kieran McCarthy said the bridge ranked as one of the city's most iconic landmarks and tourist attractions.

Designed by Stephen Farrington, the bridge was built by a UK company and was the biggest infrastructure project undertaken in Cork after the War of Independence.

It was built at the site of a medieval ferry crossing of the River Lee - and was called 'Daly's Bridge' in honour of local dairy merchant John Daly who helped fund its construction.

The bridge is now a popular access route for Fitzgerald Park and is heavily used by tourists and students.

Eight years ago a structural report raised major concerns at the way rust had damaged the bridge and, in particular, its iron latticework.

During the refurbishment programme the bridge will be closed to pedestrians.

The repaired and repainted bridge is expected to re-open to the public by April 2020.

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