Work to dismantle Cork's famous Shakey Bridge has begun.
Engineers working on the €1.7m repair and restoration of the landmark heritage structure today oversaw preparations for the removal of the first section of the near century-old suspension bridge.
The steel cables have been disconnected from the steel deck in the hope that conditions tomorrow will allow for a section of the bridge on the northern side to be lowered onto a barge below.
The barge will then float the removed section to the southern riverbank for transport by truck off-site for repairs and conservation work, including grit-blasting and repainting.
Once the bridge deck has been removed, the bridge towers will be wrapped, repaired and repainted in situ, before the suspension cables are replaced.
And even though new suspension cables are being made for it in Italy, engineers say they hope to retain as much of the bridge's signature wobble as possible.
The project is expected to continue until Easter 2020.
The near 60-metre span Daly's pedestrian bridge, as it's officially known, is a single-span steel suspension bridge over the north channel of the River Lee, linking Sunday's Well to Fitzgerald's Park.
Opened in 1927, it is Cork's only suspension bridge and is Ireland's only surviving pedestrian suspension bridge of its type and age.
Although famous for its shake, it has been in a serious state of disrepair for several years.
Fears for the safety of the structure grew last year when the Irish Examiner revealed the full extent of corrosion damage to its latticework.
A major repair and conservation plan was prepared, funding and planning for the repairs was secured, and the bridge was closed to pedestrians in August to facilitate the work.
The project will include landscaping works on the north and south side of the bridge and lighting improvements in the area.
The project, which is being funded by Cork City Council and the Department of Transport, involves experts from RPS Consulting Engineers, JCA Conservation Architects, Corrosion Solutions and Inspections Services, with L&M Keating Ltd, who built the Mary Elmes bridge.
The first ordnance survey maps of Cork city, dating from 1841, show a ferry service linking Sunday’s Well and Shanakiel.
The opening of Fitzgerald's Park increased pressure on the ferry service and in 1926, James Daly, a butter merchant and margarine manufacturer, who lived in Shanakiel, and whose company exported Irish butter all over the world, offered to pay for half the cost of a footbridge.
Daly's bridge, which bears his name, was opened in 1927.
It is included on the Record of Protected Structures and is recorded on the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.