The Old Bridge


In the year 1447 a stone bridge was built linking Waterford and Tipperary, now known as the “Old Bridge”. This is one of the most handsome stone bridges in Ireland and it pre-dates the voyage of Columbus to the New World. One of the Ormond family was known as “Richard the Builder” and to him is attributed the building of the bridge.

The eight-arch road bridge crossing River Suir, with former two arches rebuilt as navigation arch c. 1925. Segmental-headed arches with dressed stone voussoirs, random rubble limestone walls and parapets. Full height V-cutwater piers to west upstream elevation and slightly-projecting piers to east downstream elevation, all with pedestrian refuges. Piers rest on concreted stone bases, with larger central piers. Pedestrian footpath to west parapet wall.

The massive construction and narrowness of this bridge are significant in suggesting an early date, and its appearance on the Down Survey Map of 1656 establishes that it already existed by that time. Its full height cutwaters are unusual, as is the large refuge.

The undulating elevations give a distinctive appearance, and the view from the bridge to the narrow winding streets of Carrickbeg complements the effect.

The Old Bridge holds an abiding place within the affections, experience and traditions of the people of Carrick-on-Suir. Linking past and present, along with communities, counties and regions.

Tradition has it that a charter to build a bridge at Carrick was granted in 1306 but this structure more certainly dates originally from around 1447 when it was built by Edmond Mac Richard Butler. Until the 18th Century Carrick Bridge was the first above the estuary and of great strategic and trading importance as the link between South Leinster and East Munster.

Holding the Carrick bridge was essential to Cromwell's South Eastern campaign in 1649.
Repairs are recorded in 1614, 1688, 1697, 1788 and 1804.

On the 8th of February, 1799, a barge from Clonmel carrying 11 men, 40 women and 60 children smashed against the bridge in conditions of heavy flood. Over 100 were drowned.

A hanging on the bridge is recorded in 1811.

The large navigation arch was rebuilt following civil war damage in 1922.

"Salmon wait for the tide to still the weir, boys are fishing from the bridge built before Columbus raised a sail"

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