Tullow Bridge

Tullow Bridge

A 17th-century reference to the bridge over the River Slaney in Tullow is to be found in an extract from Dineley, who visited the town in 1680. It refers to the fact that the tenant of the Castle, William Crutchley, J.P., had repaired it.

The first rebuilding of the bridge took place in the Eighteenth Century. The builder was Mr. Thomas Nowlan of Rathvaran, a farmer, in the year 1747 Sir Richard Butler, Bart; Thomas Bunbury, Robert Eustace, Robert Lecky and John Breusters are mentioned as overseers. In the year 1770, the Grand Jury for County Carlow at their Summer Assizes, thanked Mr. John Semple for drawing a plan and estimate for a bridge over the Slaney in Tullow. The members of the Grand Jury refer to the fact that Mr. Semple was the director and overseer of the work. They were well pleased with the completed structure finished "in a very strong and handsome manner". Furthermore, the cost was much cheaper than first anticipated, had they not had his advice. Names of Grand Jurors appended included C. Wolseley (Sheriff), Richard Butler, William Burton, Thomas Bunbury, Robert Browne, B. Burton Doyne, Richard Mercer, Robert Eustace, William Paul Butler, The Philus Perkins, John Perkins, Thomas Gurly, James Butler, Simon Mercer, Thomas Whelan, William Bernard, William Bunbury, William Vicars, and Bartholomew Newton.

Charles Forth, Surveyor to the Grand Jury, submitted a paper to the Institution of Civil Engineers on the Bridge at Tullow in 1842. He stated that the bridge was dangerously steep. Besides he stated that it had a very narrow roadway of only 18 feet wide. The approaches to the bridge were awkwardly aligned. Forth stated that he had designed a new superstructure for the bridge using flat sequential arches. He had added abutments on the upstream side. He increased the width of the road to 28 feet. There were three new arch rings, one of which had a radius of 60 feet, a span of 17 feet and a rise of 7 inches, which meant that it was extremely flat. Forth reported that the total cost of the alterations was £485. He also tested the bridge with loaded carts of 35 cwt.

The Bridge was strengthened by Carlow County Council in the 1980's. The bridge to-day has three uniform piers and four span