Cable car proposal for St Fanahan’s Well

The Dursey Cable Car in West Cork, which is due to close from 1st April for maintenance. A similar idea to access St Fanahan's Well now looks likely to be on the cards, with an on site meeting scheduled for this Friday to progress the far-thinking idea. (Picture: Marian Roche)

Accessibility options for St Fanahan’s Well in Mitchelstown are being considered by the council, and amongst the options under deliberation are a cable car to transport people to the holy site. 

Council engineers and technical personnel from Swedish company FBB Skyline Solutions, will meet at the entrance to the holy well on this Friday at 10am to pursue plans to have a cable car, chair lift or other mode of transport installed at the town’s historic site.

As previously reported in The Avondhu, the council confirmed that explorations are being made ‘behind the scenes ‘on the issue of accessibility to the well, with the old stile entrance currently proving a hindrance to those who use a mobility aid.

Some 21 years ago, the suggestion of a cable car from the village of Anglesboro to Temple Hill was posited. While that project did not see the light of day, the technology and the idea may yet bear fruit as the plan for St Fanahan’s Well is a far more straight-forward one. 

As airspace generally doesn’t legally belong to the landowner, the option of using air-transport option avoids the usual pitfalls of accessibility through private land, etc. It is envisaged that the project would be completed by the end of October and following a number of test runs, would be ready to operate in time for the pattern day on 25th November.


“The fee for each trip will be by credit or debit card only,” Senior Engineer with FBB (Far Beyond Belief) Lifts, Dr Lucy Rick E. Teebottom, told The Avondhu this week. “There will be no cash involved. The car will take up to four people, each in their own pod, so the fee can be paid by one person or individually, depending on the situation.”

“We will need to recruit and train 4-5 people who will be responsible for ensuring the car leaves its dock at both ends successfully. Should the car stop midway, the operator will have access to a manual wheel that they will need to operate to bring the car to its destination.”

When asked as to where the departure and arrivals point will be, Ms Teebottom said they will be meeting with some locals householders on Mulberry Road at the entrance to the well on Friday to discuss this matter.

The cars and lifts are based off the prototype unveiled by Elon Musk in 2019, but in order to reflect the council’s vision of sustainable travel, the cars will be manufactured entirely from wattle-and-daub. This approach, and the collaboration with a Swiss company, will also mean the difficulties currently being faced by the Dursey Island cable car will be avoided. The famous cable car is scheduled to be closed for maintenance from 1st April.


If the project goes ahead, it opens up the possibility to use cable cars of similar in other parts of the region too, including alongside Kent Bridge in Fermoy. In January, the council had announced a feasibility study into a boardwalk over Kent Bridge, similar to the €2.1 million Mallow boardwalk project. However, access-by-air would not only be more cost-effective, it could also offer options for anglers to fish as they pass overhead.

Cllr Noel McCarthy was highly supportive of the idea, pointing to the tourism potential the quirky solution could offer to the region.

“Loads of towns have boardwalks already and while I think it’s great, a ski-lift over the Blackwater would really elevate Fermoy’s status, as it should be. To be honest, I think we should look at extending this right down to council offices while we’re waiting for the road surfacing to be upgraded on Patrick Street. God knows we’d definitely have it installed quicker.”