A MASSIVE sinkhole which forced the closure of a Cork road is linked to the collapse of a long-abandoned mine shaft.
Cork Co Council urged the public to stay away from the sinkhole which developed on the L8912 road south of Allihies village on the Beara Peninsula in west Cork.
Allihies is famous for its mining industry in the 19th Century.
The village has a special mining museum which details the history of copper mining in the area which began in 1812.
The council said it was assessing the situation but appealed for people to stay away from the area involved over safety concerns.
"We urge all members of the public not to go near to the sinkhole and to not go beyond the safety barriers," a spokesperson said.
"The road has been closed to the public and newspaper advertisements notifying the public about this emergency closure will be published.
"It appears that the sinkhole is linked to the collapse of a mine shaft in Cahermeeleboe, Allihies.
"While the road has been closed and barriers have been erected to prevent access to the area, there is the potential that this hole will become further enlarged (given the unknown ground conditions here), and therefore Cork Co Council urges vigilance and advises that caution should be exercised by all in this area."
Local resident Finbarr Harrington said it was quite a concerning situation with major worries for small children and animals.
He also said locals were concerned about further collapses linked to the ageing underground mine shafts.
The council is monitoring the situation and staff are currently endeavouring to ascertain contact information for the owners of the mine.
Meanwhile, the Department of the Environment's Exploration and Mining Division is to undertake an urgent survey of the area to determine the extent of the undermining and the potential risk of further collapses in this area.
The council said it will update locals with further information as the situation develops.