Survey Data

Reg No

13402344


Rating

Regional


Categories of Special Interest

Architectural Technical


Original Use

Bridge


In Use As

Bridge


Date

1810 - 1820


Coordinates

222661, 259277


Date Recorded

02/09/2005


Date Updated

--/--/--


Description

Single-arch humpbacked canal bridge carrying small road over Royal Canal, built c. 1815 and altered c. 2005. Round/elliptical-headed arch with dressed ashlar limestone voussoirs and dressed ashlar limestone masonry to barrel. Squared rubble limestone construction to spandrel walls, formerly rendered, with cut limestone string course at road/deck level. Squared rubble stone construction to parapets (formerly rendered) with curving ends terminated in dressed ashlar limestone piers (on square-plan). Dressed limestone coping over parapet walls. Cut limestone plaques (on square-plan) having moulded raised margins to parapets inscribed 'Webb's Bridge'. Parapets partially rebuilt c. 2005. Towpath to east bank of canal with dressed limestone retaining walls to canal banks (east and west). Modern road deck and footpaths to bridge. Located in the village of Abbeyshrule. Canal widens to the northeast to form harbour; dressed limestone walls to sides of harbour.

Appraisal

A typically well-built canal bridge, which is a valuable part of the extensive canal-related built and industrial heritage of County Longford. Although humble in form, this structure has a simple and functional elegance. It is robustly built in good-quality stone masonry, which is testament to the long-term ambitions of the Directors General of Inland Navigation (who took over responsibility for the Royal Canal following the dissolution of the Royal Canal Company in 1813) at the start of the nineteenth century. It was probably built to designs by John Killaly (1766 - 1832), the engineer responsible for the construction of the Royal Canal between Coolnahay to Cloondara, which started in 1814 and was completed in 1817 (28 years after the canal work was started in Dublin). The main contractors involved were Henry, Mullins and McMahon. The canal widens to the northwest to form a harbour, which is an important amenity in the local area. Although partially rebuilt in 2005, this bridge is an integral element of the built heritage of the local area.