AN estimated 200 tonnes of rare Cork limestone has been uncovered at a major development site on Horgan’s Quay, prompting calls for City Council to step in and save it.
BAM and Clarendon Properties are progressing construction on the site, which will include three office blocks and 237 apartments, a hotel with 2,900 sq metres of restaurant and retail space when completed.
The development will eventually provide workspace for 5,000 people.
Part of the site contains buildings that were previously owned by Ianród Éireann, which contain Cork limestone. Upon demolishing the buildings, the scale of limestone used in the buildings’ construction came to light.
The two main quarries where Cork Limestone was once quarried — at Beaumont and Little Island — have been closed for several years.
A portion of the demolished limestone has been removed from the site by Ovens-based O’Connell stone for safekeeping.
Councillor Mick Nugent has urged BAM and Cork City Council to save the remainder of the stone to ensure buildings and structures around the city which contain the rare stone can be restored in future.
“Cork Limestone is not quarried any more so we could lose it,” he said.
“The concern is there that this could be crushed up. A private citizen arranged for ten truckloads of the limestone to be removed from the site and that will be stored and available for City Council to use to restore bridges or street works or the public realm. That is now a huge resource. There is other limestone down on Horgan’s Quay in larger blocks.
“Apparently BAM has committed not to crushing it up at the moment but this is a piece of history that could be saved and we could use it again.
“It could be stored safely and available for use but the concern is that this could all be crushed up in the next couple of days,” he added.
Some of the limestone is believed to have been mixed with concrete but a large proportion is said to be salvageable.
Jim Fahy, of the Cork Mason’s Society, said the stone is a vital heritage artefact of Cork’s architectural history and should be saved.
“O’Connell Stone managed to get about ten lorry loads of the limestone from the site. BAM own the rest of what’s there so they have to make a decision on what they want to do with it,” he said.
“The best of the stone which was used for arches and doors have been palletted and kept aside so a decision will have to be made on what they are going to do with it,” he added.
The Evening Echo has contacted representatives of BAM but they have yet to respond.