Iconic Cork bridge is formally reopened but has it retained its signature shake?

Iconic Cork bridge is formally reopened but has it retained its signature shake?

The Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Joe Kavanagh performed the cutting of the ribbon ceremony and unveiling of the plaque in the presence of his wife Stephanie. Also included is Ann Doherty, Chief Executive, Cork City Council. Bishop Finan Gavin and Rev. Ted Ardis performed the blessing ceremony. Picture: Brian Lougheed

"Does it still shake?" That was the million dollar question on everyone’s lips as the first few people walked across the newly refurbished Shakey Bridge.

The iconic bridge, officially known as Daly’s Bridge, was formally reopened today by the Lord Mayor, Cllr Joe Kavanagh in a small Covid-compliant ceremony.

The bridge, which reopens to the public on Saturday, has undergone significant repair and restoration, funded by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) and the National Transport Authority (NTA).

Councillors Tony Fitzgerald from the northside of Cork (left) and Kieran McCarthy from the southside of the city meeting on the repaired and refurbished Daly's Bridge (Shakey Bridge) in Cork. Picture: Denis Minihane.
Councillors Tony Fitzgerald from the northside of Cork (left) and Kieran McCarthy from the southside of the city meeting on the repaired and refurbished Daly's Bridge (Shakey Bridge) in Cork. Picture: Denis Minihane.

The refurbishment and conservation works, which cost over €1.7 million, were undertaken to address serious corrosion and extensive damage to the 50.9 metre suspension bridge.

The Lord Mayor, Cllr Joe Kavanagh said he was delighted to reopen the bridge, which has fortunately retained its signature shake.

“I am delighted to reopen this bridge after works which will ensure it can be crossed and admired by many more generations of Corkonians.

The reopening of the repaired and refurbished Daly's Bridge (Shakey Bridge) in Cork. Picture: Denis Minihane.
The reopening of the repaired and refurbished Daly's Bridge (Shakey Bridge) in Cork. Picture: Denis Minihane.

“Daly’s Bridge is the only suspension bridge in Cork and is unique in Ireland as the only surviving pedestrian suspension bridge of its type and age,” he said.

“Its design, setting and high level of use have granted it a near iconic status amongst Cork people. 

“Its ‘shakey’ quality, which may not have been originally intended, has contributed in no small way to this significance,” the Lord Mayor continued.

Local historian and Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy was amongst the first people to test out the newly restored bridge.

A new area adjacent to the repaired and refurbished Daly's Bridge (Shakey Bridge) in Cork. Picture: Denis Minihane.
A new area adjacent to the repaired and refurbished Daly's Bridge (Shakey Bridge) in Cork. Picture: Denis Minihane.

“It’s like Christmas Day! For a local historian and someone who is very passionate about the city, it’s just great that this has actually reopened,” he said.

“I think the shake is even better than ever before. 

“I think when people walk across the bridge from next Saturday onwards, people are really going to enjoy it,” he continued.

Completed in 1926 and opened in 1927, the Shakey Bridge was constructed by the London-based David Rowell & Company of Westminster in London to a specification of Stephen W. Farrington, the then Cork City Engineer.

“It was actually bought off a bridge catalogue,” said Mr McCarthy. 

“So there are more of these ‘shakey bridges’ elsewhere in the world from that catalogue.” 

Built to replace an old ferry crossing at the location, the bridge takes its official name from Cork businessman James Daly, who contributed to the cost of construction.

Peace Commissioner Mr M. O'Driscoll officially opening Daly's Bridge (otherwise known as the 'Shakey' Bridge) at Sunday's Well, Cork 12/04/1927 Ref. 25A
Peace Commissioner Mr M. O'Driscoll officially opening Daly's Bridge (otherwise known as the 'Shakey' Bridge) at Sunday's Well, Cork 12/04/1927 Ref. 25A

Refurbishment works to the bridge, which began in August 2019, were due to be completed last April, but work was delayed due to contractual issues.

Speaking to The Echo Fianna Fáil councillor Tony Fitzgerald said he is particularly impressed by the bike stairs, or wheeling ramp, that has been installed on steps that lead to the bridge on the northern side to facilitate cyclists to push their bikes onto the bridge.

The reopening of the repaired and refurbished Daly's Bridge (Shakey Bridge) in Cork. Picture: Denis Minihane.
The reopening of the repaired and refurbished Daly's Bridge (Shakey Bridge) in Cork. Picture: Denis Minihane.

"I’m particularly delighted with the access route from Sunday’s Well right onto the Shakey Bridge. 

"They’ve done an amazing job," he said.

The Cork City North West councillor said he has fond memories of the Shakey Bridge since childhood.

"Your Sundays were coming out the Mardyke, going for a swim in the Lee Baths, come in and have a picnic in Fitzgerald’s Park and come over the Shakey Bridge and that long journey home up Shanakiel Hill which was a big walk," he said.

"There are lots of memories here from lots of generations and now we’ve retained this unique feature in the city for further generations to come and it will be here forevermore."

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