ECCG members gathered in Fermoy on Sunday 28/9/14. With overnight rain and overcast conditions, the morning wasn't looking good in Midleton but by the time we got to Fermoy, the day had brightened up considerably.
Our first port of call was the Carrigabrick viaduct on the, now closed, Waterford to Mallow railway line. Situated just downriver from the new motorway bridge on the M8, the last train to cross the viaduct was in March 1967 but not before it got its own starring role in the 1965 war film 'The Blue Max' when stunt pilot Derek Piggott flew a Fokker Dr I triplane under the viaduct with barely enough clearance on either side. The scene was the dramatic climax to the film, which saw two German WWI pilots (played by George Peppard and Jeremy Kemp) go head to head in a death defying duel of nerves to see which one would emerge as master of the skies.
Taking the role of both German pilots and with multiple takes from contrasting camera angles, he ended up flying 15 times under the wide span of the viaduct and 17 times under the narrower span. The two Fokker Dr.I triplane replicas had about four feet of clearance on each side when passing through the narrower span. He was able to fly through the arch reliably by aligning two scaffolding poles, one in the river and one on the far bank.
The director had placed a flock of sheep next to the bridge so that they would scatter as the plane approached in order to show that the stunt was real and not simulated with models. However, by later takes, the sheep had become accustomed to the planes, and had to be scared by the shepherd instead. In the printed take, the sheep continued to graze, creating a continuity error which can be seen in the finished film. See the scene in the movie trailer below.
On this day all was quiet however with only a few fishermen, a boatman (and a few photographers) breaking the solitude. The viaduct was resplendent in the sunshine reflected in the mirror-like surface of the Blackwater, altogether a beautiful sight.
In the afternoon we headed to another viaduct on the same abandoned railway line at Kilcummer between Ballyhooly and Castletownroche. Spanning the Awbeg river near where it joins the Blackwater, the structure is another triumph of engineering which opened in June 1860 .
The nearby Agustinian Priory of St. Mary at Bridgetown, founded between 1202 and 1216 and dissolved in 1541 was also worth a visit. The site, which was made accessible to the public by Cork County Council in the 1970s, is substantially 13th century, and is among the most extensive of any religious house established in Ireland in that period. There are also structures and details from the late medieval (15th to 16th century), early modern (17th century) and recent (19th and 20th century) periods.
Thinking that our shoot was over for the day, we came across a small crowd gathered at the bridge over the Awbeg at Kilcummer on our way back to Fermoy. On enquiry, we found out that about 150 horses and riders on the Avondhu Hunt fun ride were expected at the spot in a few minutes. Enough said! Cameras were back out again and right on cue, the horses appeared ambling lazily down the road towards us and then turning left into the river creating a wonderful scene for which we were totally in the wrong position!! Nevertheless, the sight and sound of so many horses in one place was worth witnessing and, as it is an annual event, maybe we'll get it next time 'round.
A really great day in North Cork. Thanks to all concerned. Mouse over the image below to activate the slideshow. Enjoy!.