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The Hidden Bridges of the Mountain River and its Tributaries - by Francis Coady

In 2012 Francis Coady published a survey on the Hidden Bridges of the Mountain River and its Tributaries. Below is an extract of the summary from that survey which can be downloaded in full here.

Summary

The survey involved the recording of 37 bridges on the Mountain River and its four main tributaries. Many of the present day bridges were predated by fords and associated stone and timber footbridges, with stepping stones dotted amongst the rivers. The early bridges were designed by the Grand Jury which was the precursor to the present day County Councils. Many of these bridges were built by local men, who were multi talented and basic all rounders.

 

While the bridge styles and techniques of construction have changed, the same principles remain: one of linking communities. Their construction meant an improvement for the lives of many rural communities, making travel somewhat less arduous. Some of these bridges were standing when the United Irishmen rebelled in 1798; some were demolished during the course of the Civil War, and rebuilt as part of the new Free State. Others replaced fords and footbridges and showed the advancement in communications and wider transport.

 

A considerable amount of these bridges require small amounts of remedial works to guarantee they will remain in the landscape for future generations. Any remedial works should be on a like for like basis, as the introduction of incorrect material may be as detrimental as not taking action. This survey also aims to highlight the possibility of the gradual destruction of these bridges and maybe a lesson to this generation to value what it has, before it remains nothing more than a photo in a survey! It is hoped that this survey will lead to further discussion concerning these bridges, and their role and place in the local community.

Rathanna bridge