The Great Diving Bell
This is one of Dublin’s achievements in the world of engineering – the Great Diving Bell.
This is how it looks after its 21st-century tourist-friendly makeover. It now has a small interpretive centre underneath it, which was opened in the summer of 2015. The Diving Bell, invented by the port engineer, Bindon Blood Stoney, was built in 1860 and used for almost 90 years to build the city’s quay walls. It was a key component in the creation of Dublin Port.
As Dublin Ballast Board’s chief engineer, Stoney was responsible for building deep-water quays along the river Liffey. He used a method of underwater construction whereby massive concrete blocks were made on the quayside and lowered into position on the river bed.
He invented the bell so that men could work on levelling the bed of the river/sea to prepare for the lowering of the slabs. It involved the bell being lowered, then air being pumped into it to expel water. This small museum even re-creates the sounds this engineering would have produced.
The museum also notes that Blood Stoney received worldwide acclaim for his invention. The fact that the Great Diving Bell was used right up to the mid 20th century is perhaps proof.
Near the location of the Bell on the south quayside is a road named after the Great Diving Bell’s inventor, Blood Stoney Road.
Below is a post on the Bell by the distinguished, late science writer, Mary Mulvihill.
See it when you take a See Dublin by Bike tour.