Dublin Viaducts

Brides Glen Viaduct

Viaducts are a specific long series of bridges supported by spans or arches between pillars.  They were related to Aqueducts in that both were originally designed by the Romans.  Viaducts were constructed over rivers, lakes, roads or valleys for the use of railway lines.[i]

The term Viaduct refers to long bridges or even a series of bridges that are connected by arches over water or land.  They usually connected two points of landscape similar in height to carry rail traffic.[ii]

According to J. P. Mc Dermott of Newport Historical Society the name Viaduct is a derivative of Latin ‘Via’ plus ‘Ducere.  These Viaduct crossings were constructed in cities or towns within Ireland for railway traffic.  Land based Viaducts connected parts of similar heights of the landscapes as crossings over valleys, rivers, or roadways.[iii]

The Irish Rail Transport history of travel began a decade later than that of Great Britain.  A railway link between Limerick &Waterford had been authorised as far back as 1826.  The first Railway constructed had just a distance of ten km: that was the Dublin – Kingstown Railway (D&KR) between Westland Row with Kingstown during 1834.  The Contractor was William Dargan who was known as ‘The founder of railways in Ireland’ as he was involved with several major railway lines.  The Locomotive Hibernia brought a train the full route from the Westland Row terminus to Kingstown on 9th October 1834.  The railway was built to one thousand four hundred & thirty – five mm standard gauge.  This entire route forms part of the present-day Dublin Area Rapid Transit electrified commuter rail system.[iv]

Amiens Street

This Viaduct over Amies Street was designed by John Chalconer Smith Chief Engineer to the Dublin, Wicklow & Wexford Railway Company, it cost in the region of £350,000 to complete.  Also known as the Loopline Bridge or the City of Dublin Junction Railway.  The viaduct was constructed between 1889 & 1891 to link Connolly Station on the North side of the Liffey to Westland Row on the South.  The construction comprised of central steel spans supported on double row of piers that spanned the road.  It had masonry spans to southwest also red brick spans to Northeast.  There was a steel girder base over carriageway with steel panels that formed parapets.  The carriageway was supported on cylindrical cast-iron fluted columns with round plinth bases plus moulded detailing to neck.’  A square – plan yellow brick piers on brown brick plinth were erected to bases of southeast of bridge.  Walls of yellow brick abutment to ends of steel span had block & start limestone quoins with limestone coping.  Masonry span to southwest had a segmental arch of red brick voussoirs also rusticated coursed limestone spandrel plus parapet walls & red brick coping.  There were splayed limestone abutments to southwest of span.  The viaduct had double arch to northeast of central span with segmental arches, also red brick voussoirs, red brick spandrel plus parapet walls.  The manufacturers’ insignia to plinth base of piers was engraved with ‘A. Handyside & Co Ltd./Derby London’.’  Registered Number 50010117.  Coordinates are 316616, 234955.  (date recorded 10th November 2011) [v]

Bride’s Glen

This site has an image of three of the five Arches of Old Abandoned Bride’s Glen Railway Viaduct in Loughlinstown.   Bride’s Glen Viaduct once carried the old Harcourt Street Railway line.  The railway line was closed in 1959.  Now the Luas Green line tram runs on several parts of the old railway line from nearby Brides Glen into Dublin.  (John Hickey 24th February 2017) [vi]

Bride’s Glen viaduct that spans over Cherrywood Road was once a part of Harcourt Street Railway line that was constructed during c. 1854.  The Viaduct structure was an elegant five -span granite masonry arch.  The Line closed during 1958.  There are images also a map at this link.  (Robert Burns February 2017): https://twitter.com/robertburns73/status/1360891227957305344?lang=en

William Dargan’s Railway viaduct in Loughlinstown was originally built for the Harcourt Street to Bray railway line.  There is an image on this site. (Nigel Layland 5th August 2019):


This video has views of the Viaduct at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jv4lkswxpZM

This YouTube of 14th February 2018 that shows the abandoned railway line is interesting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3ABgHYXmEI

A Sketch plus coordinates 53 14.29 N, 6 8 14 W of Old Harcourt Street line of Bride’s Glen Viaduct may be viewed at this link: http://wikimapia.org/832448/Bride-s-Glen-Viaduct

The five – arched Bride’s Glen viaduct spans the Loughlinstown River Valley plus Bride’s Glen Road. The Harcourt Street Railway Line or Seanlíne Iarnróid Shráid Fhearchair ran from Harcourt Street in Dublin City through the southern suburbs to Bray.  A construction of a twenty km railway from Bray that opened on 10th July 1854 was intended initially to terminate at Harcourt Road.  Harcourt Street Station was not completed until 1859.  Two railway companies The Dublin, Wicklow & Wexford Railway (DW&WR) constructed the line from Dundrum to Bray & the Dublin, Dundrum & Rathfarnham Railway (DD&RR) were to complete the line from Harcourt Street to Dublin, but the latter never materialized.  The construction of the route was double tracked during 1862.  (An accident occurred on 14th February 1900 when a Enniscorthy Train failed to halt at the buffers whilst another accident occurred on23rd December 1957 due to a human error.) [vii]


This Broadmeadow viaduct carries the main Dublin to Belfast railway line across the Broadmeadow Estuary North of Malahide in North County Dublin.  The first viaduct was built with timber for the Dublin & Drogheda Railway during 1844.  Erosion of the riverbed around the piles caused its foundations to be weakened by strong currents.  Following short-term remedial work, it was replaced with a new structure of wrought iron spans on masonry piers during 1860.  The new locomotives (4 – 4 – 0 Compounds) of the early 1930’s required that the piers be strengthened with additional ballasting that also entailed continued maintenance.  During the period from 1966 – 1968 the sea air caused deterioration of the wrought iron with the result that these spans were also replaced the current prestressed concrete structure.  (A twenty metres section of the viaduct collapsed on Friday 21st August 2009 at 6.30pm:  Repairs of four million euros were required to enable the reopening of the line on the 16th of November that year. )  Over the years several other piers have been strengthened with the riverbed weir restored.  The present structure is the third on this site.[viii]


The original design of the Loopline Bridge was carried out in 1837 by John Chaloner Smith Engineer to the Dublin, Wicklow & Wexford Railway Company.  Later it was modified for him to ensure the passing in Parliament of the Project during 1884.  The contractors were the Scottish Arrol Brothers.  This viaduct’s constructed was completed during 1891.  It had a span of one hundred & seventeen metres with three spans.  Construction consisted of wrought iron lattice girders on a double row of braced cast iron piers.  The viaduct section was located on faux granite white limestone piers.  The bridge section carried two rail lines of sharply curved ballasted track that also consisted of three spans of thirty – eight metres, forty metres, plus thirty – nine metres.  The viaduct was approximately 6.1m over the street level.  The two river piers were braced cast iron cylindrical piers.  The two cylindrical members per pier were hollow & constructed as caissons.  These had been sunk through approximately three metres of river mud with gravel.  They had been anchored into rock by means of centred dowels that extended 1.5m into the hard layer.  The cylinders were in – filled with concrete.  The six cylinders were constructed in a series of vertical levels.  The top three sections were three metres in diameter.  They tapered from 4.2 metres of diameter sections.  These cylinders were braced together by a central cross – brace plus diagonals that were enclosed by concrete.  There was a cast iron surround of 75mm to 50mm gauge.  Above the high – water level the cylinders were cross-braced by a semi-circular arched member with hollow spandrel.  The uppermost parts of the cylinders are topped by ornamented sections that carry the main lattice girders.  The spans are simply supported with a fixed bearing at one end also a roller bearing at the other end.  The cross-girders originally carried a steel trough deck, due to deterioration these were replaced between 1958 and 1960.  They were reconditioned with an extra top flange plate also troughing was replaced by a system of steel stringers welded to the flat deck plating.  The original single line of bracing between the cross-girders was replaced by two rows of new angle cross – bracing.  There are two sketches of the viaduct on this page.[ix]


This disused viaduct was erected to a design attributed to William Dargan.  This five – arch viaduct spanned a road.  It was constructed during 1852 – 1853.  It was opened by the Dublin and Wicklow Railway (DWR) Company during 1854.  The viaduct was constructed with rock faced granite ashlar walls centred on benchmark – inscribed margined.  It had rock faced granite ashlar tapered piers of rock faced cut – granite coping to parapets.  There were a series of five round arches with margined rock faced granite ashlar voussoirs.  The viaduct was closed during 1958.  (Of interest perhaps – a discreet benchmark remains from the preparation of maps by the 1824 Ordnance Survey.)  Registered Number 60260097.  Coordinates are 324410, 222818.  This page has several images. (date recorded 14th November 2012.) [x]

The Loopline Bridge or the Liffey Viaduct was designed by John Chaloner Smith Engineer of the Dublin, Wicklow & Wexford Railway.  It was constructed over the River Liffey to connect rail services of both North & South of the city between 1889 & 1891.  It was constructed of limestone piers, wrought iron lattice girders on a double row of piers with five spans plus cast iron.  The viaduct is approximately six metres above street level also it supports two railway tracks.  This Bridge is mentioned by James Joyce in his ‘Ulysses’ as ‘A skiff, a crumpled throwaway, Elijah is coming, rode lightly down the Liffey, under Loopline bridge, shooting the rapids where water chafed around the bridgepiers, sailing eastward past hulls and anchorchains, between the Customhouse old dock and George’s quay’.  Coordinates are 53.34 80 N, 6.25 46.  There are several views of the Viaduct on this site. [xi]

Loopline Bridge – Design and Engineering’ Bridges of Dublin Dublin City Council is mentioned at this site: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loopline_Bridge

John Chaloner Smith Chief Engineer to the Dublin, Wicklow and Wexford Railway (DWWR) was also responsible for the seven hundred & twenty metres tunnel adjacent to the bridge as well as the famous Loop Line elevated railway viaduct over the River Liffey in Dublin.[xii]

 Liffey Viaduct

The Liffey Railway Viaduct was constructed during 1872 to 1877.  The bridge was constructed of wrought iron with a classic lattice pattern & truss design.  The line spanned a total of thirty – four metres from Heuston Station on South of Liffey to the North side.  The railway line runs underground through the Phoenix Park for six hundred & ninety – two metres.  (During the 1916 Easter Rising on Easter Sunday evening British troops were transferred across the bridge to take control of the riverbank at the North Wall through this tunnel).  There is a YouTube video of the Phoenix Park Tunnel at this link.  ( ‘The Journal’ 28th November 2018) [xiii]

Nine Arches

Milltown or Baile an Mhuilinn a southside suburb in Dublin.  The name ‘Milltown’ was named from a working Mill located by the River Dodder there during the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries, the remains are still visible.  A spectacular nineteenth century railway bridge across the Dodder was part of the Harcourt Line ran from Harcourt street to Bray.  This bridge or the area immediately surrounding it became known informally as ‘The Nine Arches’.  The bridge was re-opened for the Luas light rail system that runs from Grafton Street to Sandyford.  This site has an amazing view of viaduct.  (William Murphy 22 December 2006) [xiv]

The Nine Arches viaduct was constructed during 1854, it opened on 10th July that year for the Harcourt Street railway line.  The line closed on 31st December 1958.  The bridge was derelict for over forty years until construction began for the Green Luas tram line that opened during 2004.  Coordinates are 30 80 99 N, 6.25 1 221 W.  There is a postcard image from 1909 also other images on this site. [xv]

This site has excellent views of the Nine Arches viaduct :https://www.excellentstreetimages.com/in-the-year-twentytwenty/places-to-visit-while-in-dublin/milltown-viaduct-and-chimney/

YouTube videos of Milltown Viaduct may be viewed at these links:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_xDdKXE3gw (11th April 2013)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_xDdKXE3gw (Luas 28th February 2014)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cf64mxwbENk (Luas 31st May 2 Single-span iron 020)

Store Street

Constructed circa 1890 this railway viaduct crosses over Store Street.  The construction was a single-spanned iron railway of stone & brick arches.  It was designed by John Chalconer Smith Chief Engineer to the Dublin, Wicklow & Wexford Railway Company.  The initial proposal was controversial as it was thought that it would block the view to the Custom House also that it would alter the skyline of the city.  It was believed that a rail link was required for the transport of transatlantic mail between Kingstown & Queenstown.  The viaduct is also known as The Loop Line Bridge & The Liffey Viaduct or the City of Dublin Junction Railway.  It was constructed between 1889 & 1891 as a link to Amiens Street Station on the North side of the Liffey & to Westland Row on the South side.  Its construction consisted of flat spanned riveted steel girder carriageway that was supported on rock – faced limestone.  There were yellow brick abutment walls.  This viaduct had panelled & riveted iron parapets later steel railings.  The railway line was over a series of round arches with brick soffits.  It had random coursed rock – faced limestone piers plus spandrels also parapets with brick coping.  Rainwater downpipes of square – profiled cast-iron inset were constructed to walls between the arches that opened at base of carriageway.  Painted render surrounded several arches whilst others had square – headed openings with double – leaf metal doors. Registered Number 50010145.  Coordinates are 316396, 234762.  There are several images on this page.  (date recorded 3rd November 2011.) [xvi]

Talbot Street

The Talbot Street Viaduct was designed by by J. Chalconer Smith, engineer to the Dublin, Wicklow & Wexford Railway Company.  It has been known as the Liffey Viaduct, City of Dublin Junction Railway Bridge or The Loopline.  It was constructed between 1889 to 1891 as a link with Westland Row on the South of the River Liffey plus Amiens Street on the North side of river.  Erected as a necessity to transport movement of transatlantic mail from Kingstown to Queenstown.  This bridge is a triple – span railway viaduct constructed circa 1890.  It had a flat spanned riveted steel girder carriageway that was supported on two pairs of fluted cast iron cylindrical piers with collar & plinth mouldings.  There were further pairs of rendered piers to north erected in approximately 2006.  Bow – string panelled & riveted central parapet with star motifs that had curved panels over supporting piers with parapets continues across spans to either side.  The manufacturer’s insignia is located at plinth base of piers ‘A. Handyside & Co. Ltd.’   Registered Number 50010134.  Coordinates are 316486, 234845.  Several images feature on this page. (date recorded 3rd November 2011.)  Registered Number 50010134. Coordinates 316486, 234845.  Several images of bridge feature on this page.  (date recorded 3rd November 2011) [xvii]

This Railway Viaduct established during 1891 crosses over Talbot Street is listed among other bridges on this link: https://www.dublintown.ie/the-history-of-talbot-street/


This PDF on Project History of Dublin’s River Liffey Bridges, 156 Issue BE4 Bridge Engineering 2003 Phillips & Hamilton may be viewed at this link: https://web.archive.org/web/20170812060126/http://www.berthamilton.com/13329.pdf

This Royal Canal Phase 2 provided a multi-span viaduct over the railway with a cycle track, footway with linear park from Guild Street to North Strand Road according to tis link:  https://www.rod.ie/projects/royal-canal-phase-2-viaduct

Publications that may be of interest include the following:

Johnson Stephen 1997  ‘Johnson’s Atlas and Gazetteer of the Railways of Ireland’  Midland Publishing Ltd.

Mac Aongusa Brian 2003 ‘The Harcourt Street Line – Back on Track’. 2003  Curragh Press.

Harcourt Street Railway (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harcourt_Street_railway_line

A list of Bridges may be viewed at this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Dublin_bridges_and_tunnels


[i] Viaduct Bridges (https://www.britannica.com/technology/viaduct) [assessed 25th March 2021]

[ii] Viaduct (http://www.historyofbridges.com/facts-about-bridges/viaduct/) [assessed 25th March 2021]

[iii] The Railway Viaduct (https://www.mayo-ireland.ie/en/towns-villages/newport/history/the-railway-viaduct.html) [assessed 26th March 2021]

[iv] Clare Co. Co. (https://www.clarecoco.ie/services/planning/publications/clare-railway-bridge-survey-interim-2015-27629.pdf) [assessed 25th March 2021]

[v] Amiens Street (https://www.buildingsofireland.ie/buildings-search/building/50010117/amiens-street-amiens-street-dublin-1-dublin-city) [assessed 26th March 2021]

[vi] Bride’s Glen (https://www.flickr.com/photos/fotosbyjohnh/33094909465) [assessed 27th March 2021]

[vii] Harcourt Street Railway (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harcourt_Street_railway_line) [assessed 27th March 2021]

[viii] Broadmeadow Viaduct (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadmeadow_viaduct) [assessed 26th March 2021]

[ix] Loopline Bridge (http://www.bridgesofdublin.ie/bridges/loopline-bridge/design-and-engineering) [assessed 27th March 2021]

[x] Cherrywood Road (https://www.buildingsofireland.ie/buildings-search/building/60260097/cherrywood-road-cherrywood-loughlinstown-dublin) [assessed 27th March 2021]

[xi] Loopline Bridge (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loopline_Bridge) [assessed 25th March 2021]

[xii] Barrrow Viaduct (http://www.industrialheritage.eu/2021/European-Year-Rail/ENDANGERED/IE/Barrow-Viaduct) [assessed 27th March 2021]

[xiii] Double Take (https://www.thejournal.ie/liffey-viaduct-4356374-Nov2018/) [assessed 26th March 2021]

[xiv] The Nine Arches (https://www.flickr.com/photos/infomatique/330785676) [assessed 25th March 2021]

[xv] Nine Arches Bridge (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine_Arches_Bridge) [assessed 25th March 2021]

[xvi] Store Street (https://www.buildingsofireland.ie/buildings-search/building/50010145/store-street-dublin-1-dublin-city) [assessed 26th March 2021]

[xvii] Talbot Street Viaduct (https://www.buildingsofireland.ie/buildings-search/building/50010134/talbot-street-dublin-1-dublin) [assessed 25th March 2021]


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