THE residents of a tiny island off the south-west coast will abandon their boats next week and return to using Ireland’s only cable car.
For nearly three months, Dursey islanders have had to endure life without their lifeline — the cable car which was installed in 1969.
Cork County Council initially planned to replace the cable car, at a cost of €30,000.
When the new galvanised cable car arrived, a snag was encountered as it was being installed.
Fraying was noticed on each of the 1,225ft-long steel cables straddling the treacherous waters of Dursey Sound.
For safety reasons, the council decided they must be replaced but were unable to find a company in Ireland which manufactured steel cable.
They eventually found a manufacturer in England who was willing to do the job, at a cost of €35,000.
The cables arrived in Dursey on August 20 and the county council immediately started installing them.
Dan Hourihane, the council’s acting senior engineer for West Cork, said it was the first time local authority employees had worked on such a project.
He said they decided to do it themselves because they believed they had the expertise and would have faced a bill for €50,000 if they’d employed an outside contractor.
“In the current economic climate the objective is to do as much work in-house as we can,” Mr Hourihane said.
Council fitters Denis O’Callaghan and Michael O’Mahony worked in precarious conditions as they connected the 1.2 tonne cables to two 80ft-high towers, one on the island and one on the mainland.
They were helped out by local boatmen Gerald Murphy and Martin Sheehan who brought equipment over to the island.
Mr Hourihane said other islanders also leant a hand, which the council was extremely grateful for.
“We are now carrying out electrical work on the cable car and testing it. We will have to get it inspected by our insurance company before we can put it back into operation,” the engineer said.
“We hope to have it working by next Wednesday. However, that will be dependent on the weather,” Mr Hourihane added.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved