Unique 200th birthday party for Barrington’s Bridge in County Limerick

Donal O'Regan

Reporter:

Donal O'Regan

Fr Brian Murphy, OSB, Glenstal, Patricia Hourigan, Senator Kieran O’Donnell, Mary O’Brien, Frances Moore and Stephen Warnock.

Fr Brian Murphy, OSB, Glenstal, Patricia Hourigan, Senator Kieran O’Donnell, Mary O’Brien, Frances Moore and Stephen Warnock.

HUNDREDS of people from near and far gathered at Barrington’s Bridge in County Limerick for its bicentenary celebrations.

Situated in the townland of Clonkeen, it connects the parishes of Murroe-Boher and Ahane, Castleconnell, Montpelier. It carries the name of Matthew Barrington, who commissioned it in 1818 to cross the Mulcair River.

Troughs of beautiful flowers, kindly supplied for the day by Limerick City and County Council, adorned the bridge. They also painted it for the occasion. A giant banner and bunting added to the historic anniversary.

Following an address by the chairperson of the Barrington’s Bridge Residents Committee, there was a very informative talk by Fr Brian Murphy on the erection of the bridge.

Born in 1788, Matthew Barrington became Crown Solicitor for Munster in 1814. Four years later, Matthew became interested in an estate in east Limerick which originally belonged to Lord Carbery.

It was then that he had this bridge constructed over the Mulcair which was called Barrington’s Bridge. Matthew left Limerick city and took up residence in Clonkeen House. Over 53 feet long, it was the first iron road bridge to be turned out by an Irish foundry - James Doyle and Company.

Fr Loughlin Brennan, PP Murroe-Boher and Fr Tom Whelan, CC Castleconnell blessed the old and new bridges. Also present were Fr Willie Teehan, PP Castleconnell and Fr Donough O’Malley, president Thomond Archaeological and Historical Society, Senator Kieran O’Donnell, Cllrs Marian Hurley, Brigid Teefy, Gerald Mitchell, Eddie Ryan and former councillors, Paddy Hourigan and Joe Meagher.

Local historians and members of Murroe, Castleconnell, Cappamore, Thomond Archaeological and Historical Societies, and Murroe Community Council attended.

Frances Moore, a descendant of the Barringtons, and her nephew Stephen Warnock attended the event. As the bicentennial celebratory birthday cake was unveiled the crowd spontaneously sang happy birthday. Isobel McGowan, aged six, blew out the candles on the specially designed cake. When the formalities were concluded the cake and refreshments were enjoyed on the O’Brien’s lawn.

Mementoes of the day - picture postcards commemorating the bicentennial and a brief history of Barrington’s Bridge - were designed and written by local historian and author Mary A Moloney. Two hundred year birthdays don't come around too often and this one was enjoyed by all those present.