Humphreystown Bridge, Blessington, Co. Wicklow.

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Where: Wicklow, Ireland

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When: 01 January 1938

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An unusual shot from O'Dea today with a bridge that has no apparent connection to railroads! Humphreystown Bridge is quite unusual and picturesque, I wonder is it still there and in use or has it fallen to "progress"? Answers on a postcard please????

This lovely bridge was blown up between 1938 and 1940 as part of the flooding of this valley to make way for the Poulaphouca Reservoir scheme, which was designed to generate electricity and supply fresh water to Dublin. It transpires that the remains of this beautiful bridge lie on the bottom of the reservoir.

Photographer: James P. O'Dea

Collection:James P. O'Dea

Date: 1938

NLI Ref.: ODEA 3/30

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at


Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 17585
jamespo’dea o’deaphotographiccollection nationallibraryofireland humphreystownbridge blessington bridge poulaphouca reservoir dam countywicklow leinster ireland drinkingwater blownup 1938 1939 1940 humprestown wicklow

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    • 22/Jul/2016 07:23:31

    It's under 30' of water, these days:,698008,708362,11,3

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    • 22/Jul/2016 07:25:23

    It's not even visible on the satellite any more:,-6.5335923,768m/data=!3m1!1e3

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    • 22/Jul/2016 07:49:03 says that the bridge was blown up between 1938 and 1940.

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    • 22/Jul/2016 08:11:46

    This bridge looks a lot like Turkish era bridges in Bosnia.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 22/Jul/2016 08:12:14


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    Niall McAuley

    • 22/Jul/2016 08:13:38

    O'Dea also photographed the dam under constriction downstream: The Púca's Hole

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    • 22/Jul/2016 08:13:46

    very elegant bridge; sad its gone

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    Niall McAuley

    • 22/Jul/2016 08:23:41

    In this Streetview above water level, you can see the old road to this bridge heading right, and the new one left.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 22/Jul/2016 08:30:48

    And now, with cows! in 1923. Sadly, the cows are no longer with us, either.

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    • 22/Jul/2016 11:13:22

    Poulaphouca reservoir occupies that spot now!

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    • 22/Jul/2016 12:04:38

    I can't pretend to understand this, but it might be of interest. There is a James Joyce reference to this bridge in 'Anna Livia Plurabelle' from 'Finnegan's Wake' - "... to wend her ways byandby, robecca or worse, to spin and to grind, to swab and to thrash, for all her golden lifey in the barleyfields and pennylotts of Humphrey's [340] fordofhurdlestown and lie within a landleaper, wellingtonorseher. ,,," 340 - Humphrey's Humphreystown Bridge near Poulaphouca From -

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    • 22/Jul/2016 12:48:43 has more info on what the area looked like pre-dam. The map page includes a photo of Humphreystown Bridge as well as a current view from the middle of the lake.

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    • 22/Jul/2016 13:02:29[email protected] That's an interesting site. Their photo shows damage done in 1923 during the Civil War (not evident in the 'cow' photo). The repaired stonework shows as newish in this O'Dea photo, including the keystone.

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    • 22/Jul/2016 15:41:14

    At first glance, I'd have guessed this was a turn of century Lawrence/French shot over a 1930s O'Dea shot.

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    • 22/Jul/2016 18:29:58

    Wonderful to view the mapping of then and now I recommend you take a look .