St Patrick’s Bridge restoration: A legacy issue

An unexpected consequence of this summer’s drought, and some of the fires caused by it was the exposure of the imprint of human habitations lost to history.

St Patrick’s Bridge restoration: A legacy issue

An unexpected consequence of this summer’s drought, and some of the fires caused by it was the exposure of the imprint of human habitations lost to history.

In some cases, fields seemed like builders’ blueprints as old, buried buildings were easily identified.

A fire on Bray Head uncovered a WWII signpost “Eire” designed to warn pilots that this was not Britain.

That drought was not the only event to remind us of what has gone before. A €1.2m renovation of Cork’s St Patrick’s Bridge has given new relevance to a wonderful Victorian image showing the bridge in its latter stages of construction. That bridge replaced one destroyed in an 1853 flood.

The bridge’s graceful lines and rich detail stand in contrast to some newer constructions — some of which are as utilitarian as St Patrick’s Bridge is elegant.

Sadly, it is impossible to celebrate an impressive landmark without considering the negative impact flood protection plans will have on the riverscape — the city’s life-giving artery. If we are to leave a legacy comparable to the one left by those who built this bridge, an alternative to raising quay walls must be found.

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