€39m Cill Rónáin Harbour on Inis Mór island wins Best Engineering Project

12 Nov 2012

Cill Rónáin Harbour on Inis Mór island

The Irish public have voted the Cill Rónáin Harbour as the Best Engineering Project of the Year. The project was selected because of the enormous social and economic value it brought to the island’s residents.

The award was announced during the third Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards on Friday evening in association with the ESB.

The harbour is sheltered by a stone breakwater which is more than half a kilometre long.

The harbour is twice the size of Croke Park and consists of more than 77,000 tonnes of large natural stone blocks sourced from Connemara which will protect the breakwater from erosion.

The piers were constructed from large concrete blocks up to 23 tonnes in weight.

A large-scale physical model was constructed and tested in a UK hydro lab prior to construction to ensure the most economical construction.

Eng Irl

John Power, director general of Engineers Ireland, with Joe Murphy from Punch Consulting Engineers, at the Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards on Friday night in Dublin

“Significant environmental monitoring was employed throughout the construction process, including a marine mammal observer who was present over the course of the project to watch for seals and dolphins during blasting works,” explained Joe Murphy from Punch Consulting Engineers, the firm behind the project.

The director general of Engineers Ireland John Power congratulated Punch Consulting and BAM Civil, who delivered the project.

Power said the construction is now an essential support to the island’s community.

“By improving safe access to the island and providing shelter from the often hazardous ocean waves that have challenged local residents over the ages, the re-developed Cill Rónáin Harbour is a true example of engineering ingenuity dramatically improving the quality of local, everyday lives. The construction benefits the Inis Mór community hugely and, in effect, sustains the strong local heritage of Irish culture and language that is very unique to the island.”   

Cill Rónáin Harbour came from a final shortlist of projects that also included Clonmel Flood Relief Scheme, Etihad Skyline Croke Park Stadium, Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre, the Michael O’Shaughnessy Bridge, Portrane/Donabate/Rush/Lusk Waste Water Treatment Scheme and the Titanic Building Belfast.

The winner was the result of an online public vote to select what they considered to be the project that has most benefited Irish society.

Winners of the third Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards

In addition to the Engineering Project of the Year competition, the third Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards also included:

  • Award for Eoin Bambury from Crospon as Chartered Engineer of the Year
  • Best Paper/Presentation of the Year – Cyril McCarthy, chartered engineer, OPW and Barry O’Connor, chartered engineer, Mott McDonald for the Clonmel Flood Relief Scheme
  • Volunteer/Volunteer group of the Year – Young Engineers Society
  • Technology of the Year – OpenHdyro’s Open-Centre Tidal Turbine
  • The Engineering Education Award ‘Best in Class 2012’ – Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, and National College of Art and Design for Trinity College Dublin all Ireland MSc in Bioengineering Education
  • ESB Award – Outstanding Contribution to Engineering – John Killeen (Galway)
  • Environmental Infrastructure Award – Cavan County Council, Erne Valley Group Water Scheme and Tobin Consulting Engineers for the Upgrade of the Erne Valley Group Water Scheme.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years