Limerick City: Bridges

Limerick City has a fine collection of road bridges, which also includes a canal and a railway bridge. James and George Pain were asked to design three bridges when trade revived in Limerick after the slump that followed the Napoleonic wars. By the mid 1820s the city, government and private interests wanted to improve the city's connection with its valuable agricultural hinterland. Athlunkard Bridge, completed in 1830 and connected to the new town with new roads, brought north and east Clare into the city's ambit. It linked Park and Corbally with the network of streets on King's Island, through to Mathew Bridge and on to the Rutland Street-George's Street axis, and became one of the principal routes within the city and through to the west of Ireland. The narrow and dilapidated fourteenth-century Baal's Bridge was rebuilt in 1831 to connect Englishtown and Irishtown with an efficient single span. With its construction, the route eastward to Dublin was much improved. Thomond Bridge, also declared to be beyond restoration, was rebuilt in 1840, partially using medieval foundations. It replaced a series of previous bridges dating to the twelfth or thirteenth century, linking the west side of the River Shannon with King's Island. Sarsfield Bridge, formerly known as Wellesley Bridge, was built to the designs of the Scottish engineer Alexander Nimmo, between 1823-35, and completed by John Grantham in 1835. Spanning the River Shannon it joins Sarsfield Street and the Ennis Road. Under the Act of 1823, the Limerick Bridge Commissioners were incorporated for the purpose of erecting Sarsfield Bridge and a floating dock. The design of the bridge is based on Pont de Neuilly in Paris (1774). Its name was changed to Sarsfield Bridge in 1882. Mathew Bridge was built between 1844-46, to replace New Bridge, which had been constructed in 1762. It connected Rutland Street and Bank Place to the south with Merchant's Quay, Bridge Street and George's Quay to the north. This bridge linked Englishtown with the expanding and developing new town. The bridge was erected to the designs of William Henshaw Owen. Lock Quay canal bridge was erected in 1757. It crosses the canal at Lock Quay harbour. This fine canal bridge was restored by Limerick Civic Trust, and survives as one of the few hump-back bridges, along with Baal's Bridge to survive in Limerick City. It marked a further advancement of the City beyond the walls. The cut stone railway bridge, built c. 1860, carries Corbally Road on a north-south axis over the Limerick to Sligo Great Southern and Western Railway line. O'Dwyer's Bridge, Athlunkard Street, built in 1931, was an early example of a concrete bridge, made more interesting by the timber breakwaters, which give the bridge a brutalist picturesque quality. It was built near the site of a previous bridge, called Park Bridge.

Athlunkard Bridge, Corbally Road, Limerick, Limerick City

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Five-arch cut limestone road bridge over the River Shannon, begun in 1826 and completed in 1830, running on an east-west axis from Corbally Road in to Co. Clare. Segmental-headed arches with cut stone voussoirs and limestone ashlar cutwaters on a pointed-arch plan. Rock-faced squared and snecked limestone ashlar walls with half-barrel coping to parapet wall.…


Corbally Road, Limerick, Limerick City

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Cut stone railway bridge, built c. 1860, carrying Corbally Road on a north-south axis over the Limerick to Sligo Great Southern and Western Railway line. Segmental single arch bridge of coursed and squared rock-faced limestone. Tooled to the soffit with voussoirs to the arches having drafted margins. Squared coursed and snecked rock-faced facing stone to…


Thomond Bridge, Castle Street, High Road, Limerick, Limerick City

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Seven-arch rock-faced limestone road bridge, built in 1836, spanning the River Shannon, with pointed curved breakwaters and short quadrant abutments. Masonry parapet rises from rock-faced platband, with hammered limestone ashlar face to road side, and rock-faced finish to river side, terminating with continuous rock-faced coping. Mild steel lamp standards and flower basket supports, both c.…


O'Dwyer's Bridge, Athlunkard Street, Limerick, Limerick City

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Five-span hump-back reinforced concrete bridge, built in 1931, spanning the Abbey River, with balustrade punctuated by panelled rendered piers. Concrete piers with lateral supporting struts between, triangular timber-framed cutwaters. Abutment piers have a monumental appearance. Architectural detailing only to parapet facing river. Bronze plaque reads: 'This bridge is dedicated to the memory of the Most…


Sarsfield Bridge, Sarsfield Street, Ennis Road, Limerick, Limerick City

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Five-span limestone road bridge, built between 1824-35, spanning the River Shannon joining Sarsfield Street and Ennis Road on a southeast/northwest axis, splaying to both sides to form abutments at the junction with the Ennis Road. Span adjoining Sarsfield Street forming a steel swivel bridge, put in place in 1923, replacing an earlier swivel bridge. Parapet…


Mathew Bridge, Rutland Street, Bridge Street, Limerick, Limerick City

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Triple-span flat road bridge, built between 1844-46, to replace New Bridge, which had been constructed in 1762, connecting Rutland Street, Bank Place to the south with Merchant's Quay, Bridge Street and George's Quay to the north. Four semi-circular limestone ashlar breakwaters with semi-dome cappings to east side of piers supporting elliptical arches, with rusticated limestone…


Baal's Bridge, Mary Street, Broad Street, Limerick, Limerick City

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Single-arched hump-back limestone bridge, built between 1830-31, linking Mary Street to the north in English Town with Broad Street to the south within Irish Town and spans the Abbey River. Quarter round breakwaters with stepped conical coping. Segmental-arch with rusticated rock-faced voussoirs. Squared and coursed limestone ashlar walls with platband to base of parapet. Ashlar…


Lock Quay Bridge, Lock Quay, Limerick, Limerick City

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Single-arch hump-back red brick and limestone canal bridge, erected in 1757, crossing the canal at Lock Quay canal harbour. In use as footbridge. Rubble limestone and red brick west elevation laid in English garden wall bond, with red brick parapet wall and brick coping rising from a moulded limestone stringcourse, returning on the curve along…