Earlier this year, as part of the Dublin Port redevelopment, Weslin Construction were engaged by the Dublin Port Company to renovate Dublin’s iconic Diving Bell, situated on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay.
In February, Weslin Construction began the renovation of the Diving Bell. 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.
In its place, a new two-metre high structural steel frame, with stainless steel panels, was constructed. The renovated Bell was then lifted on top of this structure to create a ramped public access structure underneath. This houses a water feature flowing through along with an interpretive exhibition with panels explaining the historical, social and engineering significance of the bell. There is a large amount of bespoke LED lighting used on the project, which enhances the exhibition piece at night.
It took four months and the whole process is captured in this short time lapse video:
The time lapse also shows the famous Mexican Tall Ship, the Cuauhtémoc, which docked in Ireland and was welcomed by President Higgins, getting it’s ceremonial escort into the port at 2 minutes 45 seconds.
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 of people daily, many of whom may not have know what it was or indeed, what it was originally used for.
When in service up until the 1960s, 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.
For more information on Weslin Construction’s projects, log on to www.Weslin.ie