1840 - 1850
CURRAGHAVARNA AND PORTAVOLLA
Six-arch masonry road bridge over the River Shannon, built in 1843, and replaces an earlier seventeen-arch bridge of c.1690. A seventh opening at its southern (east) end had a cast-iron swivel bridge, which was replaced in 1971 with a fixed reinforced-concrete single span. Dressed limestone blocks regularly laid. Rounded cutwaters to both end of piers. Finely dressed limestone string course. The arches are of semi-elliptical profile. Replacement parapet with vertical metal railings set between concrete piers. Piers carry modern electric lamp standards. Sides of the ramped approach roads are faced with rock-faced limestone blocks with oversailing coping which carry the footpaths.
This bridge forms a major crossing point over the River Shannon on the edge of the town of Banagher. It was built on the site of a seventeenth-century predecessor. It was constructed by the government body, the Shannon Commissioners. It is also the only six-span bridge in the county. It is contrasted with the 1750s bridge at Shannonbridge, where both are approximately the same length, but Banagher Bridge achieves the crossing with fewer spans (six as opposed to sixteen at Shannonbridge). It also has the longest masonry arch spansof all of Offaly's bridges. The bridge is located in an picturesque setting with the Martello tower and Napoleonic fort on its north-western bank and the harbour, quay, malt house and barracks to its southern bank. The bridge is not only technically significant, but also striking in its strong architectural design, forming an interesting and important group of inland navigational structures.