Getting to the root of problems in restoring King John’s Bridge

By Brendan Grehan

TWO LARGE sycamore roots are preventing conservation work on Lucan’s historic King John’s Bridge.

Situated on the Griffeen River in Lucan, the bridge is believed to have been constructed during King John of England’s reign between 1199 and 1216, thus making it the oldest standing bridge in Ireland.

King Johns bridge2 compressor

King John’s Bridge

At last week’s meeting of the Lucan/Palmerstown/Fonthill area committee of South Dublin Council, Councillor Alan Hayes asked the council for a presentation with the timeline “for the actual restoration of King John’s Bridge and to make available any findings from the surveys of the bridge”.

In their reply the council told Cllr Hayes that a full structural assessment of the bridge was completed during 2018. The condition assessment identified that there were two large sycamore roots imbedded in the bridge structure.

Cllr Hayes said he will continue to link with the Society for Old Lucan and SDCC to have all the works programmed by mid 2020.

“The Community has waited a very long time, if waiting a little longer means the job is done well and our heritage preserved, that’s worth it,” he added.

The council said their Consultant Conservation Engineer in agreement with the Councils Architectural Conservation Officer recommended further advice be sought from a specialist botanist.

The council added that due to the large sycamore roots and the impact they are having on the bridge structure, remedial repair and conservation works have not been achievable to date.

The council’s Consultant Conservation Engineer and their Architectural Conservation Officer are due to carry out a further assessment and then will decide on how best to progress this project and agree on an appropriate schedule of works which will depend on the rate of root decay.

The council has set a date in early/mid 2020 when conservation works on the bridge will be carried out.

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