Let the bells ring out — and not before time. Cork’s landmark Shandon clock, which has been at a standstill for months, is set to tick again within weeks.
It follows confirmation from City Hall yesterday that it has agreed to ring-fence funding to repair the historic clock mechanism in St Anne’s Church — the internationally recognised symbol of the city.
The famous four-faced liar, installed in the steeple by Cork Corporation in 1847, has been out of action for at least nine months.
When first highlighted by the Irish Examiner last November, city officials warned that it would take some time to carry out the right repairs, given the historic significance of the building and clock mechanism.
It was hoped to award a repair contract in March.
But concerns mounted last week when the council said repair funding would not be available until next year.
It is understood that funding, believed to be in the region of €20,000, was available, but that it just wasn’t being released.
Cork’s RedFM’s Neil Prendeville Show mounted a fundraising initiative last week but pressure mounted on City Hall in recent days when Cork Chamber and the Church of Ireland authorities insisted that responsibility for the repairs rested with the council.
Cork Chamber chief executive Conor Healy requested a meeting with city council and met with Lord Mayor Catherine Clancy, assistant city manager Dan Buggy, and director of corporate affairs Valerie O’Sullivan yesterday morning.
“The council listened to our concerns and understood the concerns of the wider public,” Mr Healy said.
By the afternoon, the council announced that it would put finance in place to fund the work.
Mr Healy praised city management for acting appropriately.
Lord Mayor Cllr Catherine Clancy said: “Now that the commitment to repair the clock has been secured, I look forward to this jewel in Cork’s crown being brought back to working order, and the Shandon clock will soon be telling us all the time again.”
A council spokesperson said they hope to award the repair contract within days. Once preparatory site works are complete, the repairs can start immediately. It is expected the work will take up to 12 weeks.
Cork-based clock repair expert Philip Stokes, of Stokes Clocks, is among those to have tendered to carry out the repairs.
He said the entire clock mechanism needs to be dismantled, removed and reconditioned.
Three dials need to be checked, one of the hands requires some work, and all the wooden Roman numerals need to be checked.
The repair project will most likely require some temporary road closures in and around the church.
For detailed background on the Irish Examiner’s coverage of the Shandon clock saga, check out this Storify.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved