Molesworth Bridge connecting the Daingean- Tyrellspass road over the Grand Canal.
Daingean’s single arch limestone canal bridge was built in c.1796. The arch of the bridge is set skew to the canal. Random rubble limestone walls, Wedge-shaped stone building block used in constructing an arc. Stone plaques now faded and hard to read, to both parapets reads: ‘Molesworth Bridge 1796’.
It is the widest of the original masonry canal bridges and the only skew arch bridge in Offaly.
200+ years later and the bridge still stands and connects so much more than the Daingean -Tyrellspass Road. First of all, the canal line ended at Philipstown so there was no need for a bridge. The canal line was eventually extended to Tullamore, hence the bridge was built.Most importantly, the building of the bridge allowed people access across the now extended canal line.It allowed people to enter the village to trade or have a pint of ale at their favourite local. They would walk or have their donkey and cart and travel from the likes of Killaderry and Croghan.This would have been a bit of a trek for them without the luxury of modern day roads. Now this wonderous little bridge connects people not just for trade or to get to their local but people from all over the world and all walks of life. People working, people travelling, people exploring.
We build too many walls and not enough bridges ~ Isaac Newton
The bridge is part of a group of canal structures along with the quay and the old canal store located to the east. The canal store has 3 storeys on the canal side and only two on the road side, built in c.1797. Once upon a time it would have been a grand and busy building, now it stands lonely and disused. Segmental-headed door openings. The paint on the old rotted timber battened doors all flaked and faded, the doors now held closed with a modern day lock and board. The pitched slate roof with limestone coping has a slate gone here and there. Moulded yellow brick window openings with wooden window shutters and iron bars, mostly intact but others have been bent and destroyed where maybe someone has found this beauty most alluring and entered through to the past. The walls of tooled limestone block and start with moulded yellow brick front and back and oculi with red brick surrounds on the sides of this amazing old building. Above all its an intriguing part of the landscape here on the banks of the Grand Canal.Certainly for people still passing by on the odd barge or houseboat but also the excursionist passing through on the roadways.
I wonder if the people who built this amazing building ever thought that 200+ years later it would still be standing, intact but silent enticing us with its eeire presence on the bank of the Grand Canal. Reminding us all of how life once was and how fortunate we are now.