There are many 18th and 19th century bridges still in use in the county today. Such structures are constructed from traditional materials of local stone, lime, and sand. They are testament to the durability of local materials and civil engineering at local level, while adding significantly to the architectural heritage of the County.
188.8.131.52 Kilkenny Group of Bridges
The Inland Navigation Company was assigned to rebuild and repair a number of bridges on the River Nore and its tributaries following large floods in the 1760s. The engineer, George Smith was the principal of the INC at time, and had previously worked under George Semple on Essex Bridge in Dublin. Among the bridges that were rebuilt and repaired at this time are: Greensbridge and Johns Bridge (Johns Bridge was replaced in 1910) in Kilkenny City, Bennettsbridge, Thomastown Bridge, Castlecomer Bridge (over the River Dinan), Graiguenamanagh Bridge (over the River Barrow), and Inistioge bridge. These bridges, along with some later 18th century River Barrow bridges of Croomaboo Bridge in Athy, Co. Kildare, and Maganey Bridge in Laois, have been identified by Ted Ruddock as forming a distinct local typology, and were labelled the “Kilkenny Group” of bridges.
The presence of classical detailing such as pedimented aedicules, niches with round headed and ogee shaped arches, Doric and Ionic columns and pilasters, entablatures, stringcourses, circular oculi all positioned in the spandrel area of these bridges is the basis for the grouping. These bridges are testament to the international connections and influences: Green’s Bridge built in 1766 by William Colles to designs prepared by George Smith is very similar to the Roman Bridge at Rimini described by Andrea Palladio in his Four Books on Architecture, while Ruddock who noted the similarity between Inistioge Bridge and designs for Mylne’s 18th century Blackfriars Bridge over the River Thames in London, commented that the repair work at Inistioge was “directly derived from Mylne’s Blackfriars Bridge design”.
The Council recognises the “Kilkenny Group” of bridges as being of significant importance to be protected against inappropriate development which may impact on their character.
Development Management Requirements:
- To ensure that new development does not detract either directly or indirectly from the character or setting of these historical bridges.
- To ensure that where pedestrian access is necessary to ensure public safety, independent structures avoiding contact with the historic bridges be the preferred option for new footbridges.
- To ensure that development which may compromise or detract from the spandrel detailing of the Kilkenny Group of bridges be avoided. The spandrel detailing in these bridges is the basis of the groups’ typology, and therefore their most significant feature.
- To ensure appropriate materials and methodologies are used for the repair works for Kilkenny’s historic bridges.