An army of Paddy’s packed onto Cork's landmark St Patrick's bridge to mark the completion of its €1.2m refurbishment.
Paddys, Pats, Patricias and even a few Patryks donned the patron saint’s costume and marched from the Metropole Hotel to the bridge for a special photoshoot to celebrate the laying of the last brick in what has been a painstaking refurbishment of the historic 19th-century heritage structure, opened 158-years ago.
They were among some 200 people who responded to a public call-out by Cork City Council for people named Patrick or Patricia - in any language - to get involved in the photoshoot.
Rosie Linham, a daughter of the late former Lord Mayor, Brian Sloane, who served as first citizen in 1978, brought her son, Paddy, 12, along for the event, with his sister, Ciara.
“We live outside the city now but we’re big fans of the city. Dad loved the city. We are very proud of him, and what he did for the city and I just thought it would be nice to bring him in. It was a lovely day, and in fairness, they’ve done a lovely job on the bridge,” she said.
Three generations of the Buckley family, grandfather Patrick, his son Patrick and his son, seven-week-old baby Patrick, along with Special Olympics silver medallist, Pat Dorgan and Patrick Joseph Lynch, who was celebrating his 80th birthday, were also part of the fun.
Lord Mayor Cllr Mick Finn used the trowel which was used to lay the bridge’s original foundation stone 158-years ago - an artefact normally held in the Cork Public Museum in Fitzgerald’s Park - to lay the last piece of stonework yesterday.
“To have 158 Patricks, Padraigs, Patricias, Patsys and Fitzpatricks on our main city bridge during a St Patrick’s Festival - a celebration of our national day - was brilliant,” Mr Finn said.
“If we ever doubted our reach around the world, we know from the nationalities in Cork today that St Patrick’s Day has a global reach and Cork is at the heart of that.”
Provincial Grand Master of the Munster Freemasons, Leslie Deane, also brought the original spirit level used in the bridge’s construction and which is normally held in their Lodge on Tuckey St.
Bishops John Buckley and Paul Colton performed a joint blessing of the bridge.
The €1.2m bridge revamp was funded by Transport Infrastructure Ireland, in conjunction with Cork City Council.
Cumnor Construction cleaned, repointed and repaired the stonework and drafted in specialist repair and restoration experts to restore to its former glory the bridge’s original lamp columns.
The bridge’s footpaths have been widened, its carriageway resurfaced and new road markings put in place.
Existing traffic lights, elevation and architectural lighting and signage were also upgraded.
Can you spot yourself among the Paddys?
Pictures: Clare Keogh