Paddys of all ages donned the patron saint’s costume and marched through Cork city today to celebrate the restoration of the city’s landmark St Patrick’s Bridge.
The army of Paddys was joined by Pats, Patricias, and even a few Patryks as the city formally marked the end of the extensive refurb of the historic 19th century heritage structure which was officially opened 158-years ago.
Grandfather, Patrick Buckley, his son Patrick and grandson, seven week old baby Patrick, were joined by Paddy Linham, 12, the grandson of former Lord Mayor of Cork, Brian Sloane, Special Olympics silver medallist, Pat Dorgan and Patrick Joseph Lynch who was celebrating his 80th birthday at the Metropole Hotel beforehand.
They were among the near 200 people who responded to a public call-out by Cork City Council for people named Patrick or Patricia - in any language - to get involved.
The first 100 gathered at the Metropole Hotel early to collect their free St Patrick costume before they marched to the bridge, led by the Rebel Brass.
A commemorative plaque was unveiled later to mark the end of restoration.
Lord Mayor Cllr Mick Finn used the trowel used to lay the bridge’s original foundation stone - an artefact normally held in the Cork Public Museum in Fitzgerald’s Park - to lay the last piece of stonework today.
Provincial Grand Master of the Munster Freemasons, Leslie Deane, also brought the original spirit level used in the bridge’s construction and which is normally held in their Lodge on Tuckey St.
Bishops John Buckley and Paul Colton performed a joint blessing of the bridge.
The €1.2m bridge revamp was funded by Transport Infrastructure Ireland, in conjunction with Cork City Council.
Cumnor Construction cleaned, repointed and repaired the stonework and drafted in specialist repair and restoration experts to restore to its former glory the bridge’s original lamp columns.
The bridge’s footpaths have been widener, its carriageway resurfaced and new road markings put in place.
Existing traffic lights, elevation and architectural lighting and signage were also upgraded.