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When a small unpopulated island stands in the way of a major infrastructural project there is only going to be one winner.

Such was the fate of Brown Island between Cork City and Cobh in the 1980s when a major arterial road was
constructed to link Cork with Rosslare.

To cater for huge volumes of traffic between the southern capital and the east, an 11km stretch or roadway known as the East Cork Parkway of what would become the N25 was built at a cost of €60m. The road bisected, if not dissected, Brown Island, and to a lesser extent Harper’s (or Harpur’s) Island as it coursed across the mudflats and low-lying islands. Difficult engineering problems presented themselves, not least the preservation of around 30,000 waterfowl comprising 35 species. The roadworks didn’t affect the birds as Harper’s Island is now a thriving nature reserve with Brown Island receiving some of its visors, particularly
wigeon and lapwing.

The project manager at the time declared ”the integration of this route into the estuarine landscape was a challenge and the line was selected to cause minimum conflict with amenity, natural resources and existing land use”.

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