RTE documentary on Ireland’s construction heritage featuring Murphy Surveys

RTE are currently showing a documentary series, Building Ireland, exploring Ireland’s construction heritage. The opening edition looks at the Cork to Bandon South Coast Railway. Murphy Surveys Cork Office Manager Barry O’Keeffe explains how the construction of the 1.2km tunnel was completed in 1840s.

In the mid 1800s railway mania was gripping Europe and Ireland was no different. Building railway tunnels at this time presented major engineering challenges both for those who were designing it and the builders who constructed it. As part of the construction for the Bandon South Coast Railway a 1.2km tunnel had to be blasted though. There were no engineering plans at the time, only maps.

Murphy Surveys Cork Office Manager Barry O’Keeffe explains that using the maps, the designers would have sketched the proposed route of the railway. It was then the surveyors job to go and determine where the tunnel was supposed to be. A series of shafts were built across the hill. The surveyor then went inside each shaft and determined the angle at which the blasting needed to begin. Six shafts were sunk into the hill, and teams of workers began tunneling towards each other at their base. Watch the video below to see Barry’s describe fully how this tunnel was built in the 1840s.

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