County Offaly: Suspension Foot Bridges

Footbridges are the most uncommon bridge type found in County Offaly; the most common type being the road bridge. With suspension bridges, cables anchored at either end support the deck. Chain Bridge, erected at Birr Castle, is a most interesting piece of architecture and engineering. A similar bridge was erected at Kinnitty Castle. These two bridges are among the earliest cable suspension bridges found in Europe. Both are within demesnes and were thus restricted to private pedestrian use, which may have aided their long existence. Their catenaries comprise lengths of parallel iron wires rather than the forged chain link or twisted steel cables more usually found in surviving examples elsewhere in the country.

Chain Bridge, TOWNPARKS (BB. BY.), Birr, County Offaly

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Single-span wire suspension footbridge, built in 1826, within the grounds of Birr Castle over the River Camcor. Hung from reinforced-concrete uprights. Anchored to the ground behind with a pair of diagonal wrought-iton rods. Timber deck. Bridge accessed through pointed-arched openings with wrought-iron gate to opening on northern bank.

Kinnitty Castle, CASTLETOWN AND GLINSK, Kinnitty, County Offaly

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Single-spire wire suspension footbridge, built c.1840, over the River Camcor within the demesne of Kinnitty Castle. Bridge is hung from cast-iron columns. The uprights are anchored to the ground behind with a pair of diagonal wrought-iron rods. Timber deck. Bridge accessed through wrought-iron gate with iron circular framing. Manufacturer's name 'T & D Roberts' on…