Categories of Special Interest
Architectural Artistic Technical
In Use As
1885 - 1895
Thirteen-span railway viaduct, built c.1891 to carry City of Dublin Junction Railway across Beresford Place and River Liffey, connecting Connolly Station with line to Dún Laoghaire. Comprises four stylistically separate component parts. Three-span bridge over Gardiner Street Lower, comprising steel girder carriageway with riveted steel decorative panels to parapet, supported on cylindrical columns having moulded neck and base, with decorative rivets to base of shaft. Central two-span masonry arch bridge with segmental arches having yellow brick voussoirs, snecked rusticated limestone spandrel and parapet walls, moulded yellow brick coping and block-and-start quoins. Five-span steel girder carriageway with lattice girder parapets and granite piers, carrying line over Beresford Place. Paired square-plan piers having ashlar granite to top of shaft, channel rusticated granite to centre on ashlar granite base having moulded Portland-stone coping, Portland-stone cornice over channel rusticated centre, and platband surmounted by machicolated deep moulded cornice. Portland-stone prostyle colonnade with columns and respondent engaged pilasters on coping of base, supporting Portland-stone lintel entablature surmounted by machicolated deep moulded cornice. Piers skewed to north-east. Paired segmental arches between piers, having moulded Portland stone architraves and keystones, separated by channel rusticated engaged pilaster with Portland stone plinth course to base, moulded string course, and moulded cornice. Fish-belly steel girders to carriageway of three spans crossing River Liffey, and lattice girder parapets, supported on paired cast-iron cylindrical caissons, infilled with concrete. Moulded and fluted necks to caissons, channelled shafts and shared moulded base, surmounted by rounded piers with moulded and fluted neck and base, with raised insignia to outer faces.
This elegantly-composed viaduct, designed by John Challoner Smith, forms a dramatic landmark in Dublin and a significant component of its civil engineering and transport heritage. It was constructed by Arroll Brothers of Glasgow, and established as a significant connection between the Dublin Wicklow & Wexford Railway, which was a component part of the Royal Mail route to Dublin, and Amiens Street (Connolly) Station, the terminus of the Great Northern Railway. It thereby considerably benefited the fast movement of mail from Britain. Numerous objections impeded the construction of the viaduct, which obstructs the view of the Custom House, and certain decorative specifications, including the ornate ironwork on the Gardiner Street spans, were included in order to placate objectors. Additionally, the masonry and Portland stone piers to the Beresford Place spans were designed to complement the architecture of the Custom House and add artistic interest. A high degree of technological and engineering skill is apparent in the construction of the bridge, notably in the lattice girder spans, fish-belly girders to the carriageway, and concrete-infilled cast-iron caissons. The viaduct, which combines artistic and technological expertise to great effect, is mentioned in Ulysees, commemorated by a bronze plaque to one of the masonry piers, which provides additional historic and cultural interest. As it remains in use, it has been well maintained, and contributes an element of nineteenth-century technological design to the architectural tone of the area.