Old Red Iron Bridge – Kilkenny, Ireland - Atlas Obscura

Old Red Iron Bridge

Once the longest bridge in Ireland, this rusting span sits abandoned and overrun by nature. 


Long ago, this former record holder had nine spans with a lifting center that would open for freighters, a former connector between the north and south sides of Waterford City, Ireland. 

Now, the iron expanse yawns across the River Suir, unused. Usurped by the River Suir Bridge, Old Red Iron is no longer the record holder for longest bridge on the Emerald Isle. Rust scars the metal surface, and plant life and grasses poke up and through the trackbed. It has sat forgotten like this since 1995, obsolete, but beautiful.

Built by William Arroll & Co. of Glasgow in 1906, Old Red, once shining and silver, was once the fastest mail route between Cobh’s transatlantic port and London, but that ship sailed in 1967 when a more efficient route was constructed. The line was reopened in 1970 to service a mineral processing plant, which now lies empty and just as discarded as the bridge itself. It ran as the Waterford to Dungarvan line until 1987, but after being closed to the public, the bridge and its track were abandoned for good in 1995, being partially dismantled and then left to rust by 2003. A ghost of its former self, it still has its now-empty control cabin, and smaller cabins at track level where powerful engines once raised and lowered the lift.

The bridge is called the Old Red Iron Bridge by the locals, in reference to its new, rusted out appearance, the once glistening silver paint peeled back to expose the defunct span to the moist elements. A quiet, peaceful ghost from the past to explore as life in Waterford City bustles on without you.

Know Before You Go

Head towards Bilberry from the town along the river and you can not miss it

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