THE RIVER DODDER AT MILLTOWN NEAR THE PACKHORSE BRIDGE
The old bridge in my photographs is Packhorse Bridge which is a 17th century structure now protected under the Dublin Development plan 2011 – 2017.
For many years I could not find the old bridge near the Nine Arches in Milltown and then about two years ago a very old gentleman who was standing on the bridge told me that it was the oldest bridge in Dublin but he could not remember its name however it had something to do with horses. He claimed that Oliver Cromwell visited the area and crossed the Dodder via the old narrow bridge.
When I returned home I was able to establish that it is known as Packhorse Bridge but little information relating to the actual bridge is available online.
A packhorse bridge is a bridge intended to carry packhorses (horses loaded with sidebags or panniers) across a river or stream. Typically a packhorse bridge consists of one or more narrow (one horse wide) masonry arches, and has low parapets so as not to interfere with the panniers borne by the horses. Multi-arched examples sometimes have triangular cutwaters that are extended upward to form pedestrian refuges.
Packhorse bridges were often built on the trade routes (often called packhorse routes) that formed major transport arteries across Europe and Great Britain until the coming of the turnpike roads and canals in the 18th century. Before the road-building efforts of Napoleon, all crossings of the Alps were on packhorse trails. Travellers’ carriages were dismantled and transported over the mountain passes by ponies and mule trains.
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