Cork's iconic 'Shakey Bridge' to reopen but will it still shake?

Daly’s bridge in Cork, known affectionately as ‘the Shakey Bridge’, is set to reopen this weekend after issues with the contractor delayed a major restoration project.
Cork's iconic 'Shakey Bridge' to reopen but will it still shake?

The refurb of the heritage structure, which began in August 2019, was touted as a flagship restoration project for the city and was due for completion last April. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

A city holds its breath — the landmark Daly’s bridge in Cork, known affectionately as ‘the Shakey Bridge’, is set to reopen this weekend after issues with the contractor delayed a major restoration project.

But the question on everyone's lips is "will it still shake?" 

From Saturday, people will be able to test for themselves whether the near century-old pedestrian bridge has retained its signature shake after work to restore the bridge was completed this week.

The refurb of the heritage structure, which began in August 2019, was touted as a flagship restoration project for the city and was due for completion last April.

But the project hit a serious wobble during the summer when the main contractor on the project, Keating, ran into difficulties, after the phased dismantling, restoration and re-erection of the bridge deck and towers.

A bike stairs, or wheeling ramp, has also been installed on steps that lead to the bridge on the northern side to facilitate cyclists to push their bikes onto the bridge. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
A bike stairs, or wheeling ramp, has also been installed on steps that lead to the bridge on the northern side to facilitate cyclists to push their bikes onto the bridge. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Work on the bridge stopped and it emerged in October that an interim examiner had been appointed by the High Court to two companies in the Keating group.

The company, which also built and installed the Mary Elmes pedestrian and cycling bridge in the city centre last year, has declined to comment. 

City officials have also declined to comment publicly on the specifics of the case but sources said the issues affecting Keating, and its subsequent impact on the bridge project, were completely beyond their control.

It is understood that council officials engaged with the main contractor and with subcontractors in recent months to ensure a range of outstanding electrical and lighting works, installation of access ramps, hand and parapet railings, as well as painting and landscaping were finished, to get the project over the line.

It’s understood that a bike stairs, or wheeling ramp, has also been installed on steps that lead to the bridge on the northern side to facilitate cyclists to push their bikes onto the bridge.

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy says the reopening this weekend will mark the end of what has been a decade of lobbying for the refurbishment funds.

Fears were expressed in early 2019 that the much loved Shakey Bridge' was at serious risk of collapse unless repairs were carried out.
Fears were expressed in early 2019 that the much loved Shakey Bridge' was at serious risk of collapse unless repairs were carried out.

"Daly's bridge is such an iconic bridge," he said.

"It's part of the DNA of the city, it's part of what makes the city tick, people have such a huge connection to it and it means so much to so many people.

"But this is the first time in over 90 years that it has been so extensively refurbished.

The big question is have the engineers managed to retain its shake. Time will tell.

Fianna Fáil councillor, Tony Fitzgerald, has also welcomed confirmation that the bridge is set to reopen.

He said the restoration of a pedestrian link will be of enormous benefit to residents in Sunday's Well and Shanakiel. 

Daly’s bridge is Cork’s only suspension bridge and is the last surviving pedestrian suspension bridge of its age and type in Ireland.

At nearly 60m, the single-span steel suspension bridge linking Sunday’s Well to Fitzgerald’s Park was opened in 1927.

It had been in a serious state of disrepair for several years with extensive corrosion damage to its lattice work. 

Fears were expressed in early 2019 that it was at serious risk of collapse unless something was done.

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