Restoration work has commenced on a robust 400m eco-boardwalk in Youghal, Co Cork, to replace the structure demolished in ferocious winter storms early last year.
The works, expected to be completed within six weeks, have included the sourcing of hardwood panels from Cameroon.
The panels were delivered in recent weeks to the site at Claycastle beach in the tourist town.
They are being affixed to a stainless steel framework, replacing the original timber frame, which collapsed under the impact of the January 2014 storms after only three years in place.
The timber had proved to be too vulnerable to a combination of strong winds, low pressure, tidal surges, and massive sand movement.
The new framework is being affixed to original steel pylons, sunk deep into the sand and unaffected by storms.
Beautiful day#youghal good to see Boardwalk repairs begin pic.twitter.com/HwJSMeAQDE— Ahernes Youghal (@Ahernesyoughal) March 13, 2015
The €220,000 project is being financed by central government funds after the council secured €468,000 grant aid for amenity works in the Midleton electoral area.
The original boardwalk only opened in March 2012 and drew thousands of locals and visitors to the beach at peak summer time.
The amenity, locals agreed, had proved particularly convenient for the elderly and those with buggies, who might have difficulty traversing sand.
Wheelchair-accessible, the boardwalk was constructed about 4m above sand levels.
The structure runs parallel to the 40m-high Claycastle grass mound and feeds onto a car park at one end and a paved walkway at the other.
Work has started this morning to re-instate Youghal's boardwalk. Should be completed in 4 to 6 weeks. http://t.co/JYXl31zCuz— John Finn 🇪🇺 🇮🇪 (@carrigman) March 13, 2015
Ballyvergin Marsh, the largest coastal freshwater marsh in Co Cork —which accommodates important plant and bird species — lies within 100m of the boardwalk.
The boardwalk concept was initially designed as part of a larger planned project linking Youghal’s Front Strand promenade to Redbarn beach, about 2.5km further from the town centre.
Longer-term, the boardwalk was considered by many to be a prelude to developing the beach area to its maximum potential, including snacks and refreshments provision.
However, plans to extend the boardwalk to Redbarn are currently at an impasse due to complications over land acquisition.
Youghal-based municipal district officer for east Cork, Helen Mulcahy, says the boardwalk was expected to reopen “within six weeks” and will provide “a major boost for tourism to the town during the coming season and far into the future”.
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