REMNANTS OF OLD SUSPENSION BRIDGE – LADY DESART BRIDGE
The remnants of the old Talbot’s Inch Suspension Bridge have been exposed whilst Kilkenny County Council has undertaken maintenance works along the River Nore linear park.
The Talbot’s Inch Suspension Bridge was built by Lady Desart in 1906 to enable mill workers to cross the River Nore, from their residences in Talbot’s Inch to the mills on the opposite side of the River. The Bridge stood until it was destroyed by the Great Flood in 1947. The recent maintenance works have revealed the remnants of the concrete ramp leading up to the Bridge, the steel column supports for the bridge and the suspension cables from which the bridge deck was hung.
Ellen Odette Cuffe, Countess of Desart (née Bischoffsheim; 1 September 1857 – 29 June 1933) was a London-born Jewish woman who was best known as an Irish politician, company director, Gaelicist (President of the Gaelic League for a time), and philanthropist in Ireland. She commissioned the village of Talbot’s Inch to be built by the architect William Alphonsus Scott. along with several other projects she and Capt. Cuffe developed together. These included Kilkenny Library, Aut Even Hospital, the Woollen Mills, Kilkenny Woodworkers, Kilkenny Theatre, the Tobacco Growers Association, Desart Hall, and Talbots Inch Suspension Bridge.
1947 was the year of the ‘big snow’. Snow began in January and it snowed heavily right through until early March. The cause of the great flood was that the thaw from the big snow came very rapidly in March. The resulting floods caused extensive damage along the River Nore and nearby.
Kilkenny incurred much flooding in the mid 1900s and the local population relied on the skills of engineer Harry Shine, who used a series of gauges upstream to accurately predict flooding and gave people enough time to evacuate before the flood arrived. In recent years a new flood relief scheme has prevented the flooding problems that Kilkenny has had for centuries.