Design and Engineering
O’Donovan Rossa Bridge was constructed from 1813-1816 as Richmond Bridge. It is symmetrical three arch granite masonry bridge with cast iron balustrades and sculptured heads on the keystones. The total span is 45m.
No records exist as to the type of foundation though George Knowles (the bridge designer) writes that all foundations were laid on solid rock. Haunching is of good rubble material mainly granite, most likely from Ormond Bridge, while fill is a compacted clayey material. The haunching extends to the quarter points.
The masonry is evenly coursed granite ashlar. The east and west faces of the bridge are identical with the exception of the six keystone heads at the centre point of each arch. The three on the east side represent Plenty, Anna Livia and Industry, while those on the west face are Commerce, Hibernia and Peace. The piers on both faces are equipped with cutwaters.
The bridge parapet comprises a series of coping stones above a series of cast-iron balusters arranged in groups of thirteen. The parapet is 1.35m in height at the centrepoint of the bridge. The parapet of Kings Inns Quay follows the baluster design of O’Donovan Rossa Bridge west to Father Mathew Bridge. The bridge was opened on the 17th of March 1816 for a cost of £25,950, including the cost of facilitating the opening.
On completion of this bridge Knowles designed and constructed the current Father Mathew Bridge.