The Office of Public Works would not stand in the way of a medieval footbridge in Graignamanagh being rebuilt as long as flooding considerations are met, according to a Kilkenny County Council official.
Known as the Clapper Bridge, the stone footbridge over the Duiske River dates back to 1204 “but lies in disrepair with much of it lying in the river,” as described in the council’s local area plan for Graignamanagh.
At a meeting of the council’s Thomastown electoral area, Cllr Tommy Prendergast (Lab) asked whether progress had been made towards plans to restore it.
Area engineer Tony Lauhoff said the council had talked to the Office of Public Works (OPW) about the footbridge, and that according to legislation cited by the OPW, no local authority or others “shall construct any new bridge or alter, reconstruct or restore any existing bridge over any watercourse without the consent of the commissioners or otherwise than in accordance with plans previously approved by the commissioners”.
Any risk of flooding had to be considered when dealing with bridges and rivers, he noted, but the OPW also acknowledged “the heritage issue” involved in this case.
“They have indicated that they would not stand in the way of the council or community reinstating the bridge,” he said. As long as there is no more than a negligible impact on flooding, he said, “it would be okay to proceed.”