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|A Survey of Monuments of Archaeological and Historical Interest in the Barony of Bunratty Lower, Co. Clare by William Gerrard Ryan|
Part 5: Sites of later
historical interest (post 1580 AD)
BRIDGE AT BUNRATTY
Location Nat. Grid Ref. R452608; ½” Sheet 17.
One may ask why include the Bridge at Bunratty? It is in a good state of preservation and certainly not endangered. In fact, quite the opposite. To increase traffic flow and safeguard this bridge it was decided, in the 1960’s, to build a new, wider bridge immediately downstream of it. This new bridge has been in use some eight years already with the result that the old bridge at Bunratty is now only used for parking cars while people visit Bunratty Castle and Durty Nelly’s nearby.
The reason I include this early nineteenth century structure is precisely because of the new bridge! It is now no longer possible to get a photograph of the old bridge, looking north from the mouth of the river Ratty. However, at present, one can purchase a postcard showing this view (see over). Out of fear of this postcard becoming unavailable I include a copy of it and a second one, in this section, thereby preserving a view of the bridge and castle as they appeared in the 1960’s. A view which can never be retaken.
When the old bridge at Bunratty was built in the early nineteenth century
an inscription was inserted to commemorate this undertaking:- (see Photograph
To cover the cost involved Studdert set up a toll gate, or turnpike, on this bridge and the toll keeper’s house, now the internationally known “Durty Nelly’s” public house, is still known locally as “The Pike”.
(Durty Nelly’s is the yellow two storey structure in both postcards).
(Page 73 has what is supposed to be a copy of the inscription on Bunratty Bridge. However this is a very poor copy as it has left out some of the words).