Twelve tulip-shaped umbrella sculptures installed on the quayside at a cost of €350,000 in Youghal will have to be dismantled and permanently removed due to severe weather damage.
The architectural installations were erected at Nealon’s Quay car park in Youghal over four years ago.
However, the spine structures supporting the canvas material were twisted “beyond repair”, according to a Cork County Council official.
Municipal district officer Helen Mulcahy, at a council meeting, likened the structures to “the elephant in the room”. Repairing the spines, she said, would cost over €50,000 but would not prevent repeated impairment.
They were erected in Nealon’s Quay as an alternative proposal to a retractable roof over nearby Barry’s Lane, a heritage site.
The community-based South and East Cork Area Development partnership company managed to avail of Rural Development Programme Funding and a site was designated for the German-made sculptures.
Under the development scheme, South and East Cork Area Development partnership provided 75% funding for the umbrella sculptures and Youghal Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, along with some assistance from the Youghal Town Council, provided the remainder.
The installations, under the chamber-led project, were intended to benefit all community groups with a particular emphasis on offering weather protection for festival events. They also provided a spectacular sight when fully extended and were illuminated at night.
At the time however, there had been concerns the expansive quayside site was an unsuitable location.
Eventually, the installations become easily vulnerable to the elements. Damage inflicted in the first two years was covered by guarantee but the structures have remained covered up for over 18 months.
Youghal Chamber of Commerce and Tourism spokeswoman Siobhán Sheehan said the organisation merely handled the funding application and “doesn’t really have any dealings” with the umbrellas now.
Ms Mulcahy advised responsibility will inevitably fall on the council to remove the features and “a decision will have to be made soon”.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved