Wednesday 28 September 2016

New TV series to explore Ireland's greatest building and engineering achievements

A new TV documentary series, starting this week, will explore and explain how Ireland’s greatest building and engineering achievements came to be, and the impact they had on the development of our towns and cities. These projects employed legions of men, from general labourers to skilled tradesmen such as stonemasons, and the programmes include details about the working conditions and pay our ancestors would have experienced.

‘Building Ireland’, will air at 8.30pm on RTÉ One on Fridays from 30 September, with five more episodes airing in the same time-slot over the following five weeks.

The series is presented by Tim Joyce, a civil engineer from East Galway; Dr. Susan Hegarty, a Cork native and geographer; and award-winning architect Orla Murphy. All three presenters previously worked on the programme's first series, which aired on RTÉ One two years ago.

Among the projects featuring in the second series are:

Spike Island, Co. Cork served as a prime defensive location for the British Empire, as well as functioning as part of the Irish prison system. At its height in 1850, it housed up to 2,500 men. It has opened to the public in recent months, after undergoing a €5.5million upgrade and enhancement project. Leaving the stark prison regime on Spike Island, the residential architecture of Cobh is also examined, as is the influence the prosperous middle class had on the town in the aftermath of the Irish Famine (see pix below). You can view some very short video trailers here.

Kilkenny Castle – Architect Orla Murphy explores the history of Kilkenny Castle, while geographer Dr. Susan Hegarty looks at the layout of Kilkenny as a medieval city and engineer Tim Joyce investigates the great flood of 1763, which caused many bridges in Kilkenny City and county to be swept away. The loss of these bridges led to engineers devising creative and robust solutions to re-unite the city and replace the lost bridges along the Nore, such as Green’s Bridge, whose design is a copy of the Palladian architecture of the Roman bridge at Rimini, but only on the city side.

Spike Island, Cobh - Home to 2,500 prisoners in 1850

Genteel Cobh - How the other half lived