Fermoy Bridge

Artist(s) : Richard England (Draughtsman)

View of Fermoy Bridge, from the river, looking west. The 13-arched ivy-clad bridge occupies almost the entire width of the image. In the foreground, on the sloping riverbank to the right, are two figures; one is apparently a child, the other is fishing with a rod. Two more figures are seen further along the same bank, and others are walking on the street above the river on the left or southern side. There are weirs below the bridge and to the left with, on that side, the calmer surface of a fish pass or water directed towards a mill race. There appear to be two lampposts on the bridge. Substantial buildings lie to either side of it, with hills in the background.
This bridge was built in 1689 at a cost of £7500, replacing the multi-section wood and stone construction drawn by Thomas Dineley in 1681 (see ‘Formoy Bridge over the Black-water’). It was in turn rebuilt in 1864-1865.


Charles Smith, The Antient and Present State of the County and City of Cork (Dublin: A. Reilly, 1750), p. 355.

Archaeological Survey, at http://webgis.archaeology.ie/NationalMonuments/FlexViewer/, record CO035-073. Accessed 13.12.2014.

Inscribed in Image

  • Caption outside of boundaries of image – Fermoy Bridge.
    [Publisher’s details are embedded in binding, and are not legible]

Image Details

Genre Townscape
Technique Aquatints
Subject(s) Architecture, Cities and towns
Geographical Location
  • Fermoy Bridge - Named locality
  • Fermoy - Town or city
  • Cork - County
  • Munster - Province
Keywords(s) Bridges, Buildings, Children, Fishing, Houses, Lampposts, Mountains, People, Rivers, Sports & recreation, Trees
Colour Monochrome
Dimensions 17.2 cm x 23.5 cm
Published / created 1816

Bibliographical Details

Travel Account Narrative of a Residence in Ireland
Print or manuscript Print
Location of image in copy opp. p. 228
Alternative source

This is a link to a digital copy hosted by an external website.

Rights Courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

Related text from travel account

Fermoy, a hundred-and-seven miles from Dublin, is one of those striking instances not unfrequently to be seen, of what may be accomplished in a very short space of time by the intelligence and activity of one man. It stands upon the Blackwater, and an ancient bridge of thirteen arches here crosses it at a weir of the river. Of this bridge the annexed plate gives a view. The whole is entirely overgrown with ivy, so that the water pours through green arches down the weir; the white foam of the falling water mingling with the green arches produces an uncommonly pretty effect. Through the interest of my friend Mr. Walker, Captain England, an officer in the barracks at Fermoy, was so obliging as to take this sketch for me. But though the bridge is ancient, the town is entirely modern. In the year 1791 it was a very poor village, consisting only of a few mud cabins. At that time the Government, having determined to erect barracks somewhere in this neighbourhood, were in treaty for the purchase of a parcel of land from a gentleman, not exactly in this spot, but at a little di- [p. 229] stance. The owner, however, asked such an enormous sum for his property, that a demur was made whether to conclude the bargain or not; when Mr. Anderson, who had some property here, offered what land was wanted at a reasonable price. The bargain was immediately concluded, and a contract was entered into with him for building the barracks. From that time the town has rapidly risen, under the auspices of this spirited and active member of the community, to its present flourishing state. A large square is built at the foot of the bridge, at the corner of which is a most excellent inn, one of the best I found in any part of Ireland; also an excellent range of houses along the side of the river, and several new streets. Manufactories have been established which are in a very flourishing state, and every thing wears the appearance of ease and prosperity. The church stands very prettily upon the ascent of a hill above the river; the barracks are spacious, and make a handsome appearance. If I could have been tempted to wish for ancient castles with frowning battlements rising above the stream, or for the sombre fragments of a fine Gothic abbey, as according better than neat spruce modern habitations with the ancient bridge overgrown with ivy, yet I forgave these modern houses their want of picturesque effect, in consideration of the pleasing associations they afforded, from the idea of the comforts enjoyed by their inhabitants.
Fermoy is a name of great antiquity; one of the numerous petty kingdoms of Ireland in ancient days was so called, and such is now the name of one of the baronies of the county of Cork, though not that in which the town of Fermoy stands. The ancient name of the district was Fearmuigh, and the sovereignty of it was in the family of the O'Kiefs, or Mac Kiefs, who claimed their descent from the Milesian kings of Ireland. The name of Fearmuigh is differently derived; some say it signifies simply and humbly grassy plains, this being a country rich in pastures. Others, who like to trace all derivations back to something of the marvellous, say that Muigh was an eminent Druid of old who assisted the king of Munster in gaining a great victory over his enemies, obtaining by his prayers that the sun should stand still for two or three hours, till the forces of the adversary were completely routed. In consequence of this service, the district in question was granted to Muigh, who from that time was called Fear-muigh, that is Muigh the doer of great deeds, and this name was afterwards given to the district. [pp. 228-229]
Fermoy Bridge