Sligo County Council’s, Structures and Marine Section carried out conservation repairs on both the Ballygilcash and Donaghintraine Bridges which both span the Dunneill River, north of Dromore West, in 2017
Ballygilcash Bridge – Upstream elevation
Ballygilcash Bridge is on the local road (L6307) linking the N59 at the Flying Horse Pub north to the Wild Atlantic Way Coast Road, Easkey to Aughris. The bridge is a single segmental with span c 7.3m spanning the limestone rock gorge. It has a thin barrel with crenelated external arch stones and showed signs of stress, manifested by longitudinal cracking. Various strengthening techniques have been used to restore live load capacity along with extensive pointing, parapet repairs and road surface modifications.
The vital restoration and strengthening works were carried out thanks to a Bridge Rehabilitation grant from the Department of Transport (DATTS). There is now a good view of the downstream face of the bridge from the river walk on the seaward side. The walkway was developed by the Local Community from Dromore West Village to the coast road on the Wild Atlantic Way, with help from SCC and follows the west side of the limestone river gorge and is abundant in fauna and flora, waterfalls and limestone cascades. It is a hidden gem.
Donaghintraine Bridge – Upstream elevation
The Donaghintraine Bridge is further downstream, some 350m along the Dunneill River Walk from Ballygilcash Bridge and supporting the Wild Atlantic Way ie Local Primary Road L2302. This is the ‘big brother’ of Ballygilcash Bridge and all indications are that it was designed and built by the same Engineer. It is a thin semi- circular thin arch with a span of c8.0m (26’) and a full height of 8.8m. Both bridges were in existence in 1836 and could well be 200 years old. At this location the gorge is much deeper necessitating a substantial arch and high wingwalls. Buttresses prop the substantial downstream wing walls. The bridge is one of the tallest of Sligo’s bridge stock of at least 600 road bridges. The masonry style and proportions mirror those at Ballygilcash, and the author suspects Donaghintraine Bridge may well have been constructed first. Substantial maintenance works have been carried out here including removal of vegetation, repairs to defective masonry components and restoration of a high buttress and parapets.
Additionally rubbing strips have been installed to replace grass margins. A fine view of the bridge and its scale can be seen from the River Walk on the upstream side.
Works to both structures was carried out to conservation principles and standards and are a credit to all involved. The undersigned wishes to thank colleague Dessie Sloyan, C. Eng., and the Contractor’s, Truir Construction Ltd., for their commitment to the projects.
Gary Salter BE, MSc, C Eng, Conservation accredited Engineer.