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strange contraption

This timelapse video of a Dublin landmark's restoration is strangely hypnotic

That ‘strange contraption’ on the quays has been given a facelift. Here’s how the work was carried out.

HAVE YOU NOTICED the Diving Bell on John Rogerson’s Quay in Dublin over the last few months?

A painstaking renovation of the landmark was undertaken earlier this year – and an impressive timelapse video released by Dublin Port captures contractors working through fog, rain and sun to get the Bell back to its full glory.


A 350 tonne crane was used to lift the Bell, which is 13 metres tall and 90 tonnes in weight, 10 metres down from its original position. There it was given a facelift with the use of specialist painting and blast cleaning.


A new two-metre high structural steel frame, with stainless steel panels, was constructed. The renovated Bell was then lifted on top of the structure to create a ramped public-access structure underneath.


There is a large amount of bespoke LED lighting used on the project, which enhances the piece at night. The whole project took four months.


The timelapse also shows the famous Mexican Tall Ship, the Cuauhtémoc, arriving in the Liffey.


The history of the Bell 

The Diving Bell, which was designed by port engineer Bindon Blood Stoney, was a mainstay on quay’s landscape since 1866, and entered service in 1871.

It was used in the building of the port’s quay walls until 1958 and since then has been a curious piece of engineering passed by thousands each day.

Dublin Port / YouTube

When in service, the Bell would be lowered into position on the river bed, pumping water out and compressed air in. This would then allow workers to level the floor of the river. They would enter a tunnel at the top of the Bell and travel down through an airlock within the structure to where they could safely work.

However they could only work in 30 minute shifts dues to the excessive heat build-up in the chamber.

The restoration work was carried out by Weslin Construction.

All images: Dublin Port

Read: Know what this strange 19th century contraption is? It’s getting a 2015 facelift >

Read: 7 little things in Dublin you’ve always wondered about >

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