"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).
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.
“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.
“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.
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.
"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."