Pictured L-R: UL Chancellor Peter Malone, Dr Martin McAleese, President of the University of Limerick, Prof Don Barry and President Mary Mc Aleese at the official opening of The Living Bridge - An Droichead Beo.
President of Ireland, Mary McAleese today (Thursday 21st January), opened The Living Bridge - An Droichead Beo, at the University of Limerick. Spanning 350 metres, the Living Bridge is the longest pedestrian bridge in Ireland, fording the longest river in Ireland and Britain, the river Shannon.
University of Limerick President, Professor Don Barry said; "The Living Bridge unifies the Clare and Limerick parts of UL's academic community. The challenge was to create a 'living link' between the campuses on either side of the River Shannon, to be of the highest engineering and architectural quality, reflecting the University's ethos of academic excellence within an inspiring campus environment. This Living Bridge will facilitate and encourage the interaction, dialogue and sharing of ideas that are essential to the nurturing of an active and sustainable scholarly community at UL".
The design of the bridge is intended to create an "organic relationship" between the landscape, the bridge and the user. The minimalist structural form developed by the designers has enabled the bridge to blend seamlessly into the natural beauty of the campus, unveiling the 'hidden world' of the river landscape. Its strategic location at the heart of the expanding campus, combined with its innovative and iconic design, has made the Living Bridge a landmark, a crossing and an active part in the learning and social life of UL.
Designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects, London and built by one of the most progressive building companies in Europe, Eiffel Construction Metallique, the unique structure has been awarded the StructE Structural Top Award for a Pedestrian Bridges, Most beautiful steel work/Bridges Category French Steel Construction Syndicate and ACEI 2008 Bridge Award. The IStructE Structural Top Award is granted for achievement in the structural design of pedestrian bridges or similar light bridge structures and recognises excellence in structural design for showcase projects across the globe.
The Pedestrian Living Bridge project was resourced through a partnership of private and public funding with the assistance of the Atlantic Philanthropies. It was constructed through a partnership involving Wilkinson Eyre, Eiffel Construction Metallique, L&M Keating Ltd, Arup Consulting Engineers and Kerin Contract Management.