BAALS BRIDGE IN LIMERICK

FOTONIQUE

BAALS BRIDGE IN LIMERICK


SORRY FOR THE DELAY
This is one of the oldest bridges in the city of Limerick. The current structure was built between 1830 and 1831 and is a single-arched hump-back limestone bridge. It replaced an earlier four-arched bridge that formed the only link before the mid-18th century crossing the Abbey river between Englishtown and Irishtown.

Early drawings show a row of houses on the bridge before it was replaced. During the construction of the new bridge in 1830 a significant archaeological object was found in the foundations of the old bridge. A brass Square of Freemasonry symbolism was found in the foundations with an inscription dating from 1507. Also inscribed on the square is the text I will strive to live with love and care upon the level, by the square. It is reputed to be one of the earliest Masonic items to be found in the world.
Description: 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 limestone coping above reaching an apex. Curved abutment walls terminating with a rusticated rock-faced limestone pier to quay walls with capstones. Plaque to bridge reads: 'This bridge was erected by virtue of an Act of the XIth of Geo.e the IV. The Rt. Honble. Thos. Spring Rice M.P. for the city of Limerick. Commenced taking down the old bridge Nov. 1830. The new bridge finished Nov. 1831. J.A. & G. R. Pain Architects.' Another plaque reads: 'The ancient bridge of four arches which occupied this site was taken down and this bridge erected at the expense of the new Limerick Navigation Company incorporated 1830 - Chas. Wye Williams Esqr. Chief Director. J.A. & G. R. Pain Architects.'

Appraisal: This pleasant bridge, with little decoration but displaying quality stonework, was designed by James and George Pain. The contractor was Williams for the New Limerick Navigation Company. It replaced the very early Baal's Bridge, which was an important four-arched bridge that formed the only link before the mid eighteenth century between The Englishtown and Irishtown. With its construction, the route eastwards to Dublin was much improved. It was identified as Ball's Bridge on the first edition Ordnance Survey of Limerick City (1840-1841) and on the 1872 edition.