Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Bridge over Calm Waters.


Did I ever tell you that I was afloat before I could walk ?  As a consequence I have always had an affinity with water.

Our latest trip was to Shannonbridge, where the great river flows and separates Co.Offaly from Co. Roscommon. Prior to 1757 you would have had to be ferried across this great, wet divide. Today this sixteen arch bridge is part of the R357 that connects Ballinasloe in Co. Galway in the west with the eastern part of the country.



The Shannonbridge artillery fort showing the main redoubt with the ramp in front of it, the R357  enters the fort just in front of the fortified Barrack Block. The defences were designed to delay a military force approaching from the west from crossing the River Shannon to the eastern side. They take the form of an elongated triangle with blunted western end, consisting of a sub-rectangular redoubt in front of a wedge-shaped enclosure and connected to it with a pair of diverging stone walls. The redoubt was completed in 1810, the barrack Block in 1814 and the rest of the defences in 1817. 

Today the old fort is the well known Parkers Restaurant where you can sit and dine and watch the boats go by.

Of the sixteen arches of the bridge it is at this span at the eastern end which is used for navigation, for all the others are impeded by hidden rocks. Originally this span was fitted with a pair of iron swing beams.


The Old Crane with Bridge Master's House
in the background.


I greatly admired these lamp standards with
their ornate tops.

The preserved swing bridge
or The Oldest Pair of Swingers'
for miles around!

The Floral Arch

I have long admired the design of this type of
craft, which think may possibly be pre WW2

Moored at the dock are examples of the various
motor cruisers that abound on the river Shannon


29 comments:

  1. Impressive bridge, they don't build them like that anymore.

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    1. They certainly do not, my photo does not really do it justice.
      Thanks for the comment Sue.

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  2. I had a friend in New York whose family had a cabin cruiser quite like the one you admire. Theirs was pre-WWII and sadly caught fire in the '70s. I love that swing bridge!

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    1. It has a very practical forward deck, in fact the whole boat has a sturdiness about it that isn't seen on the GRP cruisers. Shame about your friend's boat I expect they missed it's comforts.
      I perhaps should have said something like 'The oldest swinger in town!' do you think ?

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  3. I wonder why the defensive attributes of the bridge were thought necessary at that time?
    The cabin cruiser reminds me of a version of the old Mini Clubman! I remember an Uncle of mine had one.
    CLICK HERE for Bazza’s fabulous Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

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    1. I can only think that the British Crown took a notion that Napoleon was going sail an invasion fleet to the West coast of Ireland and turf them out. Which is why they erected so many Martello towers around the coast. Such a pity they didn't because we would now be having long lunches, croissants and decent wine !

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    2. Aaah, I now recall that some of Joyce's Ulysses was set in a Martello tower!

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  4. That is a beautiful bridge, very impressive!

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  5. Yes it is Bill even when it is raining :-)

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  6. Oh oh oh, I just got to get out and take some bridgepictures, these are really, really wonderful!!! Only I will be back in my collar on monday, so for a while I'll stick to the bridge over troubled water...
    You see, my dear Heron, this county has got bridges of all sizes and shapes, real impressing ones too, like the ones you have given us here. You have an eye for it, keep catching views and words!!

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  7. Dear me FT your exuberance for bridges is quite amazing and I never would have considered that these of old stones would have brought out so much glee... A'h but then I recall that I once knew an Archdeacon whose hobby was making model steam trains, he had a rail track in his back garden and would ride around in his spare time.
    We shall now await for Swedish bridges to appear :-)

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    1. Actually, my oldest cousin had an enormous model railroad in the attic. With the aid of smaller explosives like newyearcrackers and such, we blew up bridges.....I guess I am trying to make up for that ....

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    2. FT you are the very first self confessed terrorist that has ever, ever to my knowledge contributed to this blog. I do not know what more to say !

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    3. Well, I did confess and anyway, it's history!!! Plenty of water has passed under the bridges since then....

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    4. All jolly good clean fun and no injuries !

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  8. Hi Mel - I've never seen the Shannon and certainly would like to ... the only thing I know about the Shannon is the airport as I wrote re Wimbledon:


    "After the war all hands were on deck to clear the damage and in 1946 the Championships resumed. The overseas players returned ... the Americans dropping down at Shannon Airport in Ireland to refuel ... where the players picked up butter, cheese and necessary luxuries – on ration to the rest of Britain.

    Jack Kramer (1921 – 2009) brought with him ... two steaks for each day of the two tournaments ... Queens and Wimbledon! He said they helped him keep physically strong and mentally fit – he won that year."

    Love the swing bridge 'monument' ... clever idea ... and those motor cruisers - practical as well as fun to have and go out - fishing or cruising ...

    Lovely to see - Cheers Hilary


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  9. O for shame Hilary you need to put that right :-)
    The great river Shannon is Irelands longest river at 360.5 km (224 miles)
    and flows into the sea at Limerick. Traditionally the Shannon rises in the Shannon Pot, a round pond on the slopes of Cuilcagh Mountain in Co Cavan, from which a small trout stream emerges, but there is no visible water support entering the pool. In recent years, however, potholers have discovered what is thought to be the true source of the river much further uphill, where a small stream disappears into a sink-hole. This, in fact, is across the Border in Co Fermanagh.

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    1. Hi Mel - I did spend six weeks or so near Cork with a girl friend and we had long days out ... to the west, east and the north - so we must have gone over the Shannon at Limerick - but I don't remember that ... more interested in the lanes (and not history) in those days. Sadly my friend has died - so I can't check in with her where we went ... she was living out there for a while ...

      I went by ferry from Cork back to Swansea I guess ... and then home to Northants ... with crab and lobsters in the car - then I had to boil them and find out how to clean them ... I'm still here - so guess I didn't poison myself!

      One day I shall get back ... I hope! Cheers Hilary

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    2. It is very unfortunate that the Cork-Swansea ferry is no longer in service,
      for it cut off a lot of driving time in those days; today the roads have been greatly improved with the advent of the M-Way toll roads, so getting from A to B can be done in no time. I still prefer to use the older routes though for the journey and the scenery has a greater importance than the speed.

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  10. The wooden boat is so pretty, I guess its owner spends a lot of time lovingly looking after it. I think I would feel at home here too xxxx

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    1. That style of cabin cruiser has always attracted me and some of them have slightly deeper hulls with bilge keels fitted and a stumpy mast. So that they can use the wind to save on fuel - beautiful craft.
      Yes, I am sure you would feel at home in almost any watery place.
      Just wait and see where my next blog will be ....... yes I am taunting you !

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  11. I had no idea the Shannon was such a big river. Thank you for sharing the photos Heron.

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    1. Surprising isn't because most of the river is only a thin line on the map :-)
      Thank you for the comment Rachel.

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  12. What a beautiful sturdy looking bridge and it's great that the old fort is in use as a restaurant. I love those lamps too :-) xx

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    1. Thank you for commenting Teresa, the restaurant has a great vista of the Shannon.

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  13. How on earth did I miss this post? It is really lovely and so interesting for me too. I'll say more later as I'm supposed to be painting my barge now, but for the moment, I just wanted to mention that I too love those classic boats! Here they are call Bakdekkruisers and I would really really love to have one! One day when I've stopped all this barging around and just eante a smaller boat...maybe!

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    1. Thank you Val for putting a name on them. They look to be very practical craft with their high foredecks, I think one would feel quite safe when bringing in the anchor.

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