1863 – Vartry Bridge, Dargle, Co. Wicklow


In 1861 Parliament passed the Dublin Waterworks Act creating a project to dam the River Vartry in Roundwood to form the Vartry Reservoir. The dam, accompanying waterworks, and a pipe tunnel through a part of the Wicklow Mountains, were completed in 1867, providing the first clean mass source of water for Dublin, replacing water obtained from the canals. The bridge is part of the scheme carrying the pipeline across the Dargle river. The Vartry scheme incorporated sand beds to filter the water, so when the system opened in 1867, Dublin became the first city in northern Europe with a fully filtered water supply.

Between 1862 and 1868 the lower reservoir was formed by constructing an earthen dam across the valley of the River Vartry after a Dublin Water Works Committee was established to develop a new water supply to Dublin and suburbs. The committee was chaired by Dr. John Gray who actively promoted what would become the “Vartry scheme” and whose statue stands on O’Connell Street.

Published April 12, 2022