TOURISTS will have to wait until August before they can use Ireland’s only cable car to access an island off the south-west coast.
The seven permanent residents of Dursey Island, off the coast of Cork, have to use a boat to get on and off the island because the cable car is out of action.
Cork County Council spent €35,000 on a replacement cable car for the service, which was officially opened by Jack Lynch when he was Taoiseach in 1969.
However, when the council decided to install it they found fraying in some of the steel cables which supported the cable car across the waters of Dursey Sound.
“While our fitters were removing the old car and the gear attached to the track ropes, they discovered some fraying on the outer strands of the suspension cable at the station,” said Ted Murphy, a senior executive engineer with Cork Co Council.
He said it was decided for safety reasons that the steel ropes would have to be replaced before the new cable car could be installed.
The 1,300 feet of replacement steel cables are being made by Latch & Bachelor, an English-based company which specialises in manufacturing them.
“We are hoping to get the cables back by the last week of July. They will cost around €35,000 to replace,” Mr Murphy said.
The council will have to employ a specialist company to install the cables which are about 100ft above Dursey Sound.
“The company we got to install new cables in 1993 doesn’t do that type of work anymore. We are talking to two other companies at the moment and hope to have one of them picked to do the job shortly,” the senior engineer said.
“We are aiming to have the cable car reinstalled for early August.”
Mr Murphy said, fortunately, the weather had been good, which had made it easier for islanders to use boats to get across Dursey Sound, which has notoriously strong currents.
“We are keeping the islanders fully briefed at all times as to what is happening,” Mr Murphy said.
The population swells during the summer months.
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