New Bridge (Newbridge), County Kildare

From The Illustrated Dublin Journal, Volume 1, Number 13, November 30, 1861

THE town of New Bridge, county Kildare, is pleasantly situated on the river Liffey, the banks of which, above the town, are very beautiful and fertile, a great extent of rich pasture land extending from the river on either side. About a mile above the town are the ruins of Great Connell Abbey, founded by Meyler Fitzhenry, A.D. 1202; a mile below is the large bog of Mounds. The cavalry barracks in the town are very extensive.

It is rather anomalous to call the oldest bridge now remaining on the river Liffey, New Bridge, for, with the exception of the ancient Bridge of Dublin, which was taken down and rebuilt some years since, it is asserted to be the first stone bridge which spanned it. We learn from Pembridge's "Annals," that this bridge was erected in the year 1308, by John le Decer, the Lord Mayor of Dublin in that year, at his own expense. The bridge is situated about a mile south-west of the town of Leixlip, illustrated in our last number.

It consists of four arches, some of which are semicircular and others pointed. Like the majority of most ancient bridges, it is high and extremely narrow. "Mantled with luxuriant ivy," says Dr. Petrie, "and enriched with the varied and mellow tints of so many centuries, it is in itself an object of great picturesque beauty; but these attractions are greatly enhanced by the quiet, yet romantic, features of the scenery immediately about it—particularly the woods, and the ruins of the venerable Abbey of St. Woolstan."