St. Patrick’s Bridge has won the Judges Choice award at Cork’s Best Buildings Awards 2019, which took place in the Clayton hotel in Cork city last Friday, 18 October. 

The award recognises the successful restoration of the 158-year-old bridge’s limestone and fabric features to their former glory, following a major €1.2 million rehabilitation project, funded by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).


Built in 1861, the 90m long, three-span, masonry arch bridge links the main street to St. Patrick’s Hill.  An outstanding example of late 19th century engineering, it is a key landmark in Cork city.

A two-phase project

Roughan & O’Donovan (ROD) was appointed by Cork City Council to act as consultant for the rehabilitation of the bridge structure in May 2017.  ROD’s subconsultants on the project were JCA Architects, Meitheal Design Partners and Kevin Cleary

The project, which took almost two years to complete from preliminary design to handover, was advanced in two phases.

Phase one

Phase one began onsite in November 2017, with SSE Airtricity Utility Solutions Ltd as contractor. It involved the removal of four cast iron lighting columns on the bridge parapets. 

The columns, together with four more in storage, were transported for repair and restoration by the renowned Italian lighting restoration specialists, Neri. 

Four additional columns were replicated in Italy, bringing the total number to twelve.

Phase two

Phase two began onsite in June 2018, with Cumnor Construction Ltd. as contractor.  It involved the cleaning and repair of the original bridge stonework, the re-pointing of missing or defective masonry joints and the installation of the restored lighting columns. 

Ancillary works included footpath repaving, carriageway resurfacing, new road markings and the upgrading of existing traffic lights, elevation and high-level architectural lighting and new directional signage.

The bridge unveiling

A formal bridge opening ceremony to mark the completion of the project took place on 16 March, 2019, with Cork County Council inviting anyone named Paddy or Patricia – in any language - to come along for a special photograph to mark the occasion.

About Cork’s Best Buildings Awards

Cork’s Best Buildings Awards honour the best designed and best maintained buildings in the greater Cork City area, and are aimed at rewarding businesses and building caretakers for their efforts to protect, enhance and improve the city’s streetscape. 

The awards are run by Cork Business Association and sponsored by Cork City Council and The Echo. 

The 2019 judging panel included Ann Bogan, Senior Planner Cork City Council, Paul McGuirk, Local Enterprise Office Cork City, Mary Doyle, Executive Planner Cork City Council, Alan Healy, Deputy News Editor with The Echo, Eoin Kennedy, Zone Digital.


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