Cork Bishops take part in reopening of Saint Patrick’s Bridge in Cork

On Saturday 16th March last, the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Mick Finn, put the last piece of masonry in place to mark the completion of the restoration of Saint Patrick’s Bridge in Cork City.  The two Bishops of Cork, Dr John Buckley and Dr Paul Colton, said prayers and gave a blessing, after which the Lord Mayor officially re-opened the bridge and unveiled a plaque.

Cllr. Mick Finn, Lord Mayor of Cork, laying the final piece of stonework on St Patrick’s Bridge with the silver trowel that was given to the Lord Mayor of Cork, John Arnott, to mark the laying of the foundations of the bridge in 1859.
Included are Bishop John Buckley and Bishop Paul Colton who performed a blessing at the ceremony to mark the historic occasion.
Pic: Brian Lougheed

Cllr. Mick Finn, Lord Mayor of Cork, who performed the laying the final piece of stonework on St Patrick’s Bridge with a silver trowel that was given to the Lord Mayor of Cork, John Arnott, to mark the laying of the foundations of the bridge in 1859.
Also included are, from left: Michael Nolan, CEO of Transport Infrastructure Ireland; Bishops John Buckley and Paul Colton; Juia Gebel, Master Stonemason and Gerry O’Beirne, Director of Services of the Roads and Transportation Directorate, Cork City Council.
Pic: Brian Lougheed

Today’s bridge is not the first bridge built at that point over the River Lee.   When the ancient city of Cork, centred on North Main and South Main Streets, expanded in the 18th century, including the development of St Patrick’s Street, the first St Patrick’s Bridge was built.  A foundation stone was laid on 25th July 1788, but six months later on 17th January 1789 a flood washed away the partially completed bridge. It was rebuilt, and was opened on 29th September 1789. That bridge was destroyed, again by a severe weather event in 1853 and was replaced by a temporary timber bridge.

Bishop John Buckley and Bishop Paul Colton perform the blessing ceremony at the reopening of St. Patrick’s Bridge. Included is Cllr. Mick Finn, Lord Mayor of Cork .
Pic: Brian Lougheed

It, in turn,  was replaced by today’s bridge.  The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, the Earl of Carlisle, laid the foundation stone for the new bridge on 10 November 1859 using a level provided by the Freemasons of Cork.  The Mayor of Cork, Sir John Arnott, opened the new Saint Patrick’s Bridge on 12 December 1861. The bridge, 18.5 metres wide, spans a waterway of 51 metres.  Both the level and trowel used in 1859 were brought to the re-opening on 16th March 2019.

The bridge’s elegant design remains one of the best-known landmarks in Cork. 

Bishop Paul Colton and Bishop John Buckley with the trowel which was used in laying the foundation stone of the bridge in 1859. Pic. Brian Lougheed

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