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08 Aug 2022

Trip Through Time: What in old Dundalk was 'The China Bridge'?

Looking back at Dundalk's past, with former Democrat editor Peter Kavanagh

Trip Through Time: What in old Dundalk was 'The China Bridge'?

When were the cherry trees planted in Ard Easmuinn?

The Ard Easmuinn private housing estate was built on lands west of the Dundalk Railway Station purchased by the Dundalk Urban Council in the 1950s. The mostly detached houses were built on sites leased to individuals and the estate gradually grew along the new link road opened up between the Carrick Road with the Castletown Road. After the Church was opened in 1969, John Martin of the Gardening Society suggested that the grass margins should be tree planted. Gerry Douglas, County Horticultural Officer selected a species of flowering cherries and these were planted by Gerry Waller, Town Gardiner. The young trees were a magnificent sight when they blossomed in spring each year but, unfortunately as they matured, their roots proved 'path busters' and most of them were removed nearly twenty years ago.


When was the first major extension to St. Mary's College?

The school was opened to pupils in September 1861 in an old mansion called Church Hill House. The first major extension was developed by a Father James Corcoran, son of a local business man, who became President of the College in the early 20th century. The new wing was opened in June 1909 and, according to an article in the Tempest Annual of 1910, – 'The new wing is of an elongated design that almost doubles the capacity of the College.' This red brick, three storey, building which has recently been sold for housing development, is the part of their old school that many former pupils of the College still living will recall as their 'alma mater'!


What in old Dundalk was 'The China Bridge'?


This was a small, ornate, bridge that spanned one of the artificial canals that ran through the Demesne of Dundalk House which stood opposite the Green Church. The bridge was part of the design by Thomas Wright, English landscape gardener who laid out the Demesne for Viscount Limerick in the 1740s. It stood between the backs of the houses on the Demesne Road and what was once the P. J. Carroll tobacco factory sports grounds. The bridge was demolished about 1940.


What happened in 1946 to changed the shape of Dundalk?

At the end of World War 11 the Dundalk Urban Council decided that they wanted to change the town boundary to allow for more housing development in the surrounding 'green field' belt. Their application was granted by the then Minister for Local Government, Sean MacEntee, who had worked for the Dundalk Council as a young engineer in their Power Station, prior to the 1916 Rising in which he played a role. The result was that the size of the Urban area increased from 1,434 acres to 6,067 acres, making it one of the largest areas, outside cities, in Ireland. The population at that time was 18,562 which increased to over 20,00 within a few years.

Questions for next week:
Where did the French Huguenot refugees establish their chapel in Dundalk?
Where was the 'Primitive Wesleyan Chapel' in Dundalk?
What was Dundalk's South West Development Plan?
Where in Dundalk was 'Moyle Castle'?

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