Shakey Stories

Welcome to Shakey Stories –  a project all about Cork’s Shakey Bridge and its relationship to sound, memory, place and identity. The project consists of this blog and a Digital Sound Archive  as well as an academic thesis and a radio documentary which is currently in pre-production and will be broadcast on UCC 98.3 fm.

Share Your Own Shakey Story

If you’ve got a story, reflection, anecdote, song, poem, sound or piece of  history to share about the bridge that could add to the Shakey Bridge Sound Archive, please get in touch by leaving a comment below or emailing :


The People’s Bridge

If you’ve ever visited Cork city, Ireland’s rebel capital, you might have climbed Shandon Tower or sampled the delights of the English Market. Perhaps you shopped on Patrick street, caught a match at Páirc Uí Cuaoimh, enjoyed the majestic Gothic revival surrounds of St Finbarre’s Cathedral or took a trip out to kiss the Blarney stone. But have you ever crossed the River Lee on The Shakey Bridge?

I cross this pedestrian bridge many times a day and have come to observe the great affection in which it is held by Corkonians and visitors alike. The bridge is a repository full of stories, sounds, moments, history and reflections. It is a place where lovers meet, where children come to play, teenagers to dare one another to jump into the water, commuters to cycle and walk on their way to and from work, students from UCC music school taking the short cut between St. Vincents Church and the main campus. It is  where local residents jog and walk their dogs on the way to Fitzgerald Park  , The Lee Fields or Cork city centre, where anglers gather and families visit on weekend outings.

Scene from RTÉ’s Young Offenders TV series

It is where wedding proposals are made and tourists come to take photographs, where music videos and scenes from television and movies are filmed. It is where interviews are given and publicity shots taken. And yet its something of a Cork secret, mostly known only to locals.

By day it is a well trodden pedestrian thoroughfare that serves as a moment’s pause from the hustle-bustle and traffic thronged city streets, opening up a wildlife rich vista over the Lee river to East and West  and over to the park, the Mardyke sports fields and the long lush private gardens of Sunday’s Well road that open out on to the river bank. Here is where herons swoop, mallards gather, a kingfisher darts below. If you’re lucky you might catch sight of a visiting seal or otter or a fish jumping clean out of the water.

By night it can be a gathering spot for small groups of young drinkers but mostly it is dark, unlit and more foreboding than peaceful, particularly for a lone female returning home on a winter’s evening or a late summer night. This is the people’s bridge, rich in soundscape, landscape, popular heritage and full of contrasts.