Dursey Island Cable Car Reopens following €1.6 million Upgrade

A group of people in a cable car

The Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Danny Collins and Chief Executive of Cork County Council Tim Lucey have cut the ribbon marking the reopening of Ireland’s only cable car service, and the only cable car in Europe that crosses open seawater, following an extensive €1.6m upgrade.  

The Dursey Island Cable Car was originally opened on December 5th 1969 by then Taoiseach Jack Lynch and is located on the Beara Peninsula, West Cork, linking the mainland with the scenic inhabited Dursey Island.  The service was established to support islanders who often faced isolation during inclement weather conditions due to the hazardous tidal race in the Dursey Sound. Traditionally accommodating both passengers and livestock, the transportation of livestock ceased in January 2012. Although continuing to serve a small number of islanders, it is now predominantly used by tourists and farmers.

The cable car service has witnessed significant growth over the last number of years, increasing from 12,000 visitors in 2015 to over 21,000 a year crossing at this signature point on the Wild Atlantic Way. The cable car can accommodate 6 passengers with the trip of 374 metres taking seven and a half minutes each way.Reopening the Cable Car, Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Danny Collins, said,

The Dursey Island Cable Car is truly unique and holds immense historical and cultural significance for the people of Cork County. I am delighted to reopen the cable car which ensures the safety and accessibility of this iconic landmark. This service is not only an important transport link but also a cherished attraction that adds to the natural beauty and tourism potential of our region. Thanks to this investment, Cork County Council has now safeguarded it for future generations.

Operated and managed by Cork County Council, a structural assessment of the Dursey Island Cable Car in 2016 revealed that the support towers would reach the end of their operational life in the early 2020s. Annual inspections were conducted to comply with safety regulations, but the severe strain experienced during Storm Barra in December 2021, combined with the metal towers reaching end of life, necessitated immediate remediation works.

Cork County Council decided to undertake a full replacement of the support towers and in early 2022, Roughan O’Donovan Consulting Engineers and contractor TLI Group were appointed to oversee the project, which involved the full replacement of the 24m tower structures and the island anchor frame. During the decommissioning phase, a magnetic scan revealed degeneration of the track and haul ropes, all of which have now been replaced. Chief Executive of Cork County Council Tim Lucey highlighted how,

The completion of the Dursey Island Cable Car Upgrade is a testament to the commitment and dedication of our team and project partners. The newly upgraded Dursey Island Cable Car Service maintains the character and vision of the original, while ensuring resilient and secure access to the island for years to come. This achievement marks an important milestone in the preservation of our cultural heritage together with the enhancement of our tourism offering.


The Chief Executive also acknowledged loan funding from the Council of Europe Development Bank which has supported this project through a recent loan agreement with Cork County Council.  Cork County Council signed a €33.7 million loan agreement with the Council of Europe Development Bank in July 2020 to support the Council’s Social Sustainability Investment Programme.  This project forms part of this loan agreement.