Bridging the gap

The Irish News reported yesterday, and the BBC today, that it has been suggested that a Bridge be built from Northern Ireland to Scotland. There are of course larger gaps bridged in the world, in some cases linking a population much smaller than Northern Ireland’s with the rest of it’s country.

  • SoccerSick

    Glad to see a unionist finally admit NI on its own is not a country – now can someone tell FIFA.

  • smcgiff

    £3.5 Billion? Buttons!

  • Oiliféar

    5bn euro (presumably split between the NI/SCO/UK and the Republic) seems like a pretty sweet deal, but doubt it so realistic. The Wikipedia article on the Irish Sea says this was first proposed 1895 (not counting Finn mac Cool and the Giant’s Causeway). A tunnel to Dublin-Liverpool/Manchester sounds good – the very large cities on either end – but a cheaper one, a what would be the longest sea bridge in the world, to Scotland sounds even better.

  • Aaron S

    Surely it makes more sense – for everyone on the island – to have a tunnel from Dublin to wherever. That would provide realistic hope of train travel to the European mainland. What’s the point in going north to go south?

  • Michael Shilliday

    Would it though? Is 20 odd miles the shortest distance between the coasts? I thought it was nearer to ten.

  • slug

    Its not on the agenda yet cost-wise but if bridge/tunnel technology continues to advance substantially then it will become a project to start thinking about, particularly welcome would be the benefits for the Irish-NI-Scottish-North of England economies and the reduced reliance on air and sea travel.

  • Silly

    Why would we as an island nation want to build a bridge to another island? Surely the logical thing to do would be to move those two boring machines from the Port Tunnel down to Wexford and point them in the direction of the mainland.

  • DC

    Excellent, I think I said jokingly elsewhere on Slugger that parties should lower their constitutional expectations and as a result a bridge to Scotland could be built.

    This was in reference to the Danes who apparently stay happy by keeping expectations low.

    Anyway, Stage 1 – feasibility study. Think low and aim high.

  • Gareth

    Let’s concentrate on the land first. I think a higher priority should be the A75 in Scotland from Stranraer to Gretna. That road needs some investment. There are too few passing places and if you get stuck behind a lorry doing their 40mph speed limit on certain stretches it can be a hellish journey.

    I’ve wondered why the Republic’s government haven’t offered to give it some cash if they think it’s worthwhile investing in the A8 to Larne. Who knows, that might be next.

  • Yokel

    Aaron S

    You have to look at the number of trucks with ROI number plates dumping and collecting cargo in Belfast to know that its established practice to go North then go South.

    It’s still one of the more economic ways of doing things.

    On a purely economic level there is much to be said for such an idea because of the convenience of accessing each others markets with goods.

    Mr Shilliday. I know a bloke that same with a school ruler measuring it for himself ad he though it was 12 miles. Thing is though these things dont often takes the most direct route and its disembarkation point on eaither side needs to make sense.

  • DaithiO

    M. Shilliday: “…linking a population much smaller than Northern Ireland’s with the rest of it’s country.”

    Now, where shall I start?

  • smcgiff

    ‘Now, where shall I start?’

    Antrim apparently! 🙂

  • Suilven

    It’s 13.5 miles from Torr Head to the Mull of Kintyre, which is the shortest distance. Neither of these locales are what you would call accessible, however. The most viable route, given current transport links would be one of Larne/Whitehead/Donaghadee to Portpatrick.

    However, a bridge or tunnel across the North Channel for £3.5bn is pure pie in the sky IMO (that’s if it’s even feasible at all, for any amount of money). The North Channel’s much deeper than the English one, or any of the locations of the world’s other long bridges & tunnels, for a start. Given that a replacement Forth Road Bridge is currently costed at £1.7bn, rising to £2.2bn for a tunnel, all to cross 1 mile of the Firth of Forth, I’d say you’d need to 10x the quoted amount to even sniff at it.

    Hell, the crossing only takes an hour, if you pick the right ferry. The previous poster was right – improve the roads on both sides and leave the sea to its own devices!

  • qubol

    Is there not also the problem that the depths of the north channel guard huge munitions dumps?

  • RG Cuan

    At first glance, a bridge or tunnel (i would favour the later) to Scotland seems like a good idea and the discussion should be welcomed by all – Gaels as well as those who have more affinity with the Lallans.

    It could be argued however that a link between Dublin and Wales would make more sense if the main aim is to facilitate movement to mainland Europe.

    Overall though the question should be is it viable? Costs would be enormous and people can already reach Alba, Cymru and England in a relatively short time by boat.

    It will be interesting to see how it pans out.

  • Wee slabber

    Mr shillidays it’s = it is. Its = possessive. And how do you define “it’s” (sic) – obviously not a country. So, no “national” stadium,; no “national team”, no more “our wee country”. Great – what a relief!

  • Michael Shilliday

    The UK is a multi national state. The UK is a country, Northern Ireland can legitimately be defined as a country also.

  • Wee slabber

    There are eight criteria used to determine whether an entity is an independent country (also known as a State with a capital “s”) or not.
    A country need only fail on one of the eight criteria to not meet the definition of independent country status.
    One of the criteria is:
    A “country” regulates foreign and domestic trade and issues money.
    The NI parliament does not do that. Sorry, no country status for NI.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Northern Ireland IS a country. As is Cork. As is my back garden. As is the Peoples Republic of my left testicle.

    More countries. You can never have enough countries.

  • IJP

    I’ve just travelled over the Great Belt Bridge and Oresund, and Danish visitors to the Giant’s Causeway this week were struggling to understand why there wasn’t a bridge!

    I’m always one for the radical and the progressive, but a couple of problems:

    1. As Michael indicates, the shortest point is actually 12 miles, but is further north and therefore further from any urban centres.

    2. The shortest route, therefore, is not a current ferry route (Ballycastle-Campelltown has never worked) – Oresund, Great Belt, and I believe all the others referred/linked to without exception did (and do) have competing ferry routes (indicating the requirement and providing competition to keep prices down).

    3. In practice, long bridges require shallow water – I gather that actually the channel between Ireland and Scotland is really quite deep.

    4. I simply don’t buy this €5 billion figure. In practice, there’s no point in doing this without the relevant upgrades of both road and rail either side. Those add very significantly to the total.

    But I’m not a civil engineer, and I look forward to Sluggerettes explaining away all these difficulties…

  • pete


    A bit off topic here, but Northern Ireland is a country. Refer to a map/encyclopedia/dictionary for confirmation. Deal with it.

    As far as the bridge goes, if Finn McCool can build one, then we can too.

  • Katinka

    A deep trench lies between Donaghadee and Portpatrick called the Beaufort Dyke. It was used as an ammunition dumping ground after the second world war.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Wahtever floats your boat, pete. Anyway, still off topic (apologies) was it not Fionn Mac Cumhail who was able to step over the water from the Giants Causeway.

    Finn McCool sounds more like a UDA man from Larne rather than a mythical Irish hero.

  • pete

    “Legend has it that the Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn McCool) built the causeway to walk to Scotland to fight his Scottish counterpart Benandonner. One version of the legend tells that Finn McCool fell asleep before he got to Scotland. When he did not arrive, the much larger Benandonner crossed the bridge looking for him. To protect Fionn, his wife Oonagh laid a blanket over Fionn and pretended he was actually Fionn’s baby son (in a variation, Fionn fled after seeing Benandonner’s great bulk, and asked his wife to disguise him as the baby.) In both versions, when Benandonner saw the size of the ‘infant’, he assumed the alleged father, Fionn, must be gigantic indeed. Therefore, Benandonner fled home in terror, ripping up the Causeway in case he was followed by Fionn.” (Wikipedia)

  • Oiliféar

    Wee slabber:

    “There are eight criteria used to determine whether an entity is an independent country

    One of the criteria is: A ‘country’ regulates foreign and domestic trade and issues money.”

    So the Republic (along with France, Netherlands, Spain … etc.) ceased being a country in 2002?

    Didn’t the NI executive handle the international trade issues of foot and mouth recently? Doesn’t executive regulate domestic trade? Doesn’t NI issue its own bank notes?

    Goodness, NI a country and the Republic not!?

  • Dewi

    RG Cuan – it’s been proposed….Our pipe dream was first !

    And to those into legends Bendigeidfran from the Mabinogi managed to lie across the Celtic Sea to let his comrades walk over him. Any bridge design could incorporate this legend….”Bid ben bid bont” (To be a leader be a bridge).

  • Prince Eoghan


    Wouldn’t we be much better using this engineering expertise to saw Scotland off at the tweedmouth and solway firth, and Wales off at offa’s dyke?

    Y’know get it over and done wi! ;¬)

  • Dewi

    …I’m all in favour of close fraternal relations with all our neighbours Prince…..

  • Prince Eoghan

    *Fr.Dougal’s voice*

    But would they be our neighbours if we sawed them off and towed them out to the middle of the Atlantic Ted?

  • Dewi

    After deep and long refelection it was proably a bit of an error to invite them over…do u think they would react positively if we revoked the inviation. – Like a peaceful return to the Bavarian caves from where they came ?

  • Dewi

    …and they already have a tunnel to get them part of the way !!!

  • Prince Eoghan

    I dunno Dewi, the further west you go the more they are intertwined with our own people. Perhaps we should do random DNA checks and deport to Westphalia on the spot if less than 50% native Briton. We could probably just clear out East Anglia wholesale if we were looking for a start and leave Cornwall and Devon alone. Geordie land is tricky only about 30% native Briton, but I like the bastards so we could give them a pass.

    Wait my uncle Adolph has just shouted on me ;¬)

  • Dewi

    I suppose we shoudn’t joke about it…but hell why not – why not just a simple height test ?

  • RG Cuan


    ‘Bid ben bid bont’ – Is that initial change on the ‘ben’ and ‘bont’?

    If so i’m guessing it’s from the ‘bid’, which presumably incorporates some kind of ‘you’ element?

    Don’t know much Cymraeg and was working it out from Gaeilge. Just wondering!

  • Dewi

    Sorry RG the correct version would be “A fo ben bid bont”

    Correct on soft mutation Pen(head) to Ben and Pont to Bont/

    The A fo means “he who would be”
    Bid – be a

    I am no linguist by the way…..

  • RG Cuan

    Diolch Dewi.

    The Irish for ‘leader’ is also based on the word ‘head’ – ‘ceannaire’ from ‘ceann’.

  • Dewi

    Indeed RG – I fink that phenomenon (Ceann v Pen) is where the designation P-Celtic for brythonic languages and C-celtic for the Goidelic ones came from…or did I get that the wrong way round…another 20 minutes on Gwgl for it !

  • Dewi

    “The Brythonic languages (or Brittonic languages) form one of the two branches of the Insular Celtic language family, the other being Goidelic. The name Brythonic is derived from the Welsh word Brython, meaning an indigenous Briton as opposed to an Anglo-Saxon or Gael. The Brythonic branch is also referred to as P-Celtic because the Brythonic reflex of the Proto-Indo-European phoneme *kw is p as opposed to the Goidelic c. Such nomenclature usually implies an acceptance of the P-Celtic hypothesis rather than the Insular Celtic hypothesis (for a discussion, see Celtic languages).”

    I think this means the “Proto-Indo-European” word for “Head” would have been something like “Kwen” which evolved into “Pen” and “Ceann” in Welsh and Irish…………..It’s 1.20am – can you tell ?

  • RG Cuan

    That’s right Dewi, though the Gaelic grouping is usually refered to as Q-Celtic.

    Anyway, great to see you guys have made ‘Gwgl’ your own! Da iawn!

  • DK

    “Perhaps we should do random DNA checks and deport to Westphalia on the spot if less than 50% native Briton.”

    Leaving a country purified of all foreigners. Are you in the BNP?

  • ash wragg

    could we just not built a decent road from belfast to the maiden city first then focus on 20 mile long bridges at a later point. or maybe a bus into town from my house after 6pm?

  • Prince Eoghan


    >>Are you in the BNP?<

  • Dewi

    PE – I’ve decided that the casual anti – English stuff ain’t on……we need to engage with our Saxon neighbours !

  • I want to try what pete is doing in #22 and what some other did in case it is fun. …

    A bit off topic here, but Northern Ireland is a country. Refer to a map/encyclopedia/dictionary for confirmation. Deal with it.

    Deal with it. Deal with it. is a country. it is a country.

    No. It isn’t fun. And doing that doesn’t make it true. There is something wrong.

    There really is no such thing as a “multi national state”, Michael Shilliday.


    “State” has 2 meanings – etiher a province in a country or a full country, and never a country which seeks never to accept that it is one country and can never be two or more countries. A curtain can never be two curtains. A .

    The only fun I can discern in what is going on is in presenting the truth as if I were a doctor:

    Northern Ireland is not a country and no one who sanely considers Northern Ireland thinks that it is a country. I don’t know why I am writing this except that it is actually fun presently, patients, ridiculously! Someone ought to do it (maybe – or maybe never – only parents have that responsibility and maybe not even they at the age the posters are at).