1835 – Sarsfield Bridge, Limerick
When completed in 1835 after 11 years of construction, it was named Wellesley Bridge. The Limerick Bridge Commissioners were incorporated for the purpose of erecting the bridge and a floating dock under the Act of 1823 entitled ‘An Act for the erection of a bridge across the River Shannon and of a floating dock to accommodate sharp vessels frequenting the port of Limerick’.
Built to the designs of the great Scottish engineer Alexander Nimmo (1783-1832), it was completed by John Grantham in 1835 and based on the Pont de Neuilly in Paris, with a cost of £89,061.
It consists of five large and elegant elliptical arches with an open balustrade, running from a man-made island, originally called Wellesley Pier but now known as Shannon Island, to the northern shore. Each span reaches 70 feet, with each arch rising to a height of 8 feet 6 inches. The contractor was Clements and Son. The existing metal swivel bridge, manufactured by Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Co. of Darlington, replaces an earlier nineteenth-century twin-leafed swivel bridge manufactured by Forrester & Co. Liverpool and connects the island to the shore. The swivel end is no longer functional, a lock system has replaced the swivel section to allow for the passage of smaller boats. .
There are three commemorative panels to parapet piers, one reads: ‘This bridge was erected A.D. 1831 under and Act of the IV George IV: introduced into Parliament by the Right Honorable T. Spring Rice M.P. for the city of Limerick.’ A second plaque reads: ‘Sarsfield Bridge by authority of Parliament and through liberal grants from the Grand Juries of Limerick and Clare Alderman Jerome Counihan J.P. Mayor of Limerick 1882-1883. Was enabled to declare this bridge free of toll on Easter Monday 26 March 1883 William Boyd J.P. High Sheriff Alfred G. Wallace Sol. Town Clerk.’ A third plaque reads: ‘1975 European Architectural Heritage Year parapets reconstructed Alderman Patrick Kennedy Mayor James Tully T.D. Minister for Local Government.’