A massive crowd of some 40,000 people queued outside the $617 million tunnel in Limerick to get the chance to walk under the River Shannon.

This is the largest engineering project that has ever been undertaken in the West of Ireland and over 40,000 members of the public took advantage of this unusual opportunity.

The organizers of the event were completely stunned by the public’s interest. Twenty buses had to be deployed to carry people to and from the site.

Tom King, managing director of the consortium Direct Route said “We got a great response from the public. It was double the number that we expected.

"Everyone wants to know when it will be open and we are hoping this will come to pass next month.

One of the first to walk underneath the river Shannon was visitor, Denis Morgan. He said “It is absolutely fantastic. Great engineering went into it. It puts Limerick on the map.”

This section of the tunnel completes the Southern ring road in Limerick. The road will take about 40,000 cars out of the Limerick City Center every day. 

Construction on the tunnel began in 2006. The whole project included 10 kilometers of motorway, 11 bridges, six underpasses and a 900-meter tunnel with a 675-meter section of that underwater.

Underwater! Some 40,000 people queued for the chance to walk under the Shannon