Nostalgia: Picked out of a ‘bridge catalogue’ the Shakey Bridge went on to become a Cork landmark

Nostalgia: Picked out of a ‘bridge catalogue’ the Shakey Bridge went on to become a Cork landmark

Historic picture of Daly's Bridge at Sunday's Well.

Cork's iconic Shakey Bridge, formally known as Daly's Bridge, reopens to the public today fully refurbished, repainted and given a new lease of life.

The refurbishment and conservation works, funded by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) and the National Transport Authority (NTA) at a cost of over €1.7 million, were undertaken to address serious corrosion and extensive damage to the 50.9 metre suspension bridge.

Peace Commissioner Mr M. O'Driscoll officially opening Daly's Bridge (otherwise known as the 'Shakey' Bridge) at Sunday's Well in 1927.
Peace Commissioner Mr M. O'Driscoll officially opening Daly's Bridge (otherwise known as the 'Shakey' Bridge) at Sunday's Well in 1927.

The landmark bridge was formally reopened on Thursday by the Lord Mayor, Cllr Joe Kavanagh in a small Covid-compliant ceremony.

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.

St Vincent's Church, Sunday's Well, pictured from Daly's Bridge in 1929.
St Vincent's Church, Sunday's Well, pictured from Daly's Bridge in 1929.

“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.

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,” Independent councillor and local historian, Kieran McCarthy, told The Echo.

The Shakey Bridge pictured in 2012. Picture: Richard Mills.
The Shakey Bridge pictured in 2012. Picture: Richard Mills.

“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 residents of Sunday's Well had lobbied for 19 years to see the construction of the bridge after the ferry went out of business in the first decade of the 1900s.

The bridge takes its official name from Cork businessman James Daly who lived at Dalymount on Strawberry Hill in nearby Shanakiel. 

The Shakey Bridge, pictured in 2000. Picture: Brian Lougheed. 
The Shakey Bridge, pictured in 2000. Picture: Brian Lougheed. 

Mr Daly made a generous offer to pay for half the cost of a footbridge if it were to be built by the Corporation.

He was a butter merchant and margarine manufacturer, whose company exported Irish butter all over the world. 

His company, James Daly & Sons, began trading as butter merchants in Ballyduff, Co Waterford, in 1871 and moved to Cork in 1885, where they traded from the internationally recognised Butter Market in Shandon. 

Man cycling over the Shakey Bridge in 2000.
Man cycling over the Shakey Bridge in 2000.

The company continues to trade today under the name of JDS foods.

As part of the restoration works, the original Rowell & Company manufacturer’s plaque has been restored and again sits on the southern tower. 

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