THE THOMOND WEIR APRIL 2022 NO EVIDENCE OF THE PROMISED REDEVELOPMENT
During earlier visits to Limerick before 2019 I had noticed this structure in the distance and had always intended to visit it to check it out but I never got around to doing so. In June 2019 I was in the area and as the weather was beautiful I took the opportunity to investigate the Brown’s Quay area.
I quickly discovered that asking locals about a structure or feature is not always a good idea.
One person told me that this was the Parteen Railway Bridge but as that particular bridge is still operational I knew that this information was incorrect.
A second person working in a yard at the the bridge told me that the derelict structure was a disused railway bridge as that was where the trains from Dublin terminated before the current station in Limerick City was opened and it was fairly obvious that this could not be true. Personally, at the time of my visit to the area, I suspected that it was related to salmon migration or fishing.
When I returned to Dublin I phoned Irish Rail and they told me that it was a weir owned by the ESB and that is who I should contact.
After some more research I cane across the following information in the Limerick Post: “The local authority recently acquired Thomond Weir and the associated fish packing building from the ESB for an undisclosed sum and now plans to develop the site, 500 metres north of Thomond Bridge, as a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists. Spanning the River Shannon from Brown’s Quay in Thomondgate to its east bank in St Mary’s Park, the weir was used between 1940 and 1978 by the ESB to monitor the number of salmon passing upstream, and to catch some for commercial purposes. It has been disused for almost four decades.”
In 2020 I also found a blog by Sasa Novak who is a Green Party Councillor for Limerick North [LCCC] and have taken the opportunity to reproduce some extracts:
“This week I called on the Council to act on removal of two piers of the Thomond Weir as a priority as the current situation presents a serious hazard to life of our young sports people and other less experienced river users.”
“Thomond weir was built in 1938 and abandoned 40 years later in 1978. The ownership transferred to the LCCC some 4 years ago.”
“There is a history of unsuccessful attempts to utilise the structure as a link between parts of the city. While these development proposals have been rejected one after the other, the structure remains as it was and as such presents a health and safety issue for the rowing clubs and an impediment to the potential for tourist activity on the river.”
“Because of this numerous minor incidents have happened in the past as the crews were having difficulties navigating the narrow arches. However, serious incidents are also not uncommon. In 1993 a crew were fortunate to avoid drowning when their boat became wrapped around one of the piers and completely destroyed. And more recently, in 2019, a young girl suffered a life changing accident when her boat was swept onto the weir.”