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Thurles Bridge Is Falling Down

God knows, if it were raining soup, our hard pressed local Town Councillors would be out there standing, holding knives and forks. Only just back from the seaside and with local footpaths still not repaired since the tremors of our last earthquake, sure you would think they had enough problems for the weeks ahead.

Two cutwater supports in state of collapseBut as the poet, Billy Shakespeare, once said to me “When trouble comes they come not in single spies, but in battalions,” and true to form, now our strategic escape route, Thurles road bridge, is falling down.

The bridge’s problems are visible on the north west side facing Pheasant Island, where two dressed limestone triangular cutwater supports, protecting arch supports are now about to collapse.

I do not want to panic any of our residents, but I worry that the large numbers of unemployed workers, heading out of this forgotten town to experience adventure on the emigrant trail, could find themselves marooned, until after the rainy season.

(Click on image for larger photo.)

Barry’s Bridge, in Thurles, to give it it’s true title, has provided passage over the river Suir, since it was originally built circa 1650. It remained unchanged until circa 1820, when its upper, side protection walls were partially reconstructed, removing two semi circle areas, which had provided safety to pedestrians from splashes from high speeding coaches and galloping horses. In the twentieth century both of these walls were removed and replaced by steel railings and the bridge road surface also was widened with a pedestrian footpath added on the south side.

This original 17 century bridge was constructed using a combination of rubble and dressed limestone materials, and has provided textural variation and interest, which gave scenic value to the amenity areas to the south and north. (Well it did until certain individuals placed assorted pipes and wires across its seven beautiful arches.)

Only one Thurles Councillor, so far, has asked Co Council engineers to inspect the bridge, but he states “there is no cause for panic,” however to use the famous riposte spoken by Mandy Rice-Davies, a Welsh former model and showgirl, best known for her role in the Profumo affair, “Well, he would, wouldn’t he?”

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