La Touche Bridge

Year when built

Proposals to link Dublin to the Shannon river by canal were made as early as 1715 when an Act was passed to this effect. However it was not until 1755 when a serious attempt to do so was initiated. Progress was slow and by 1763 only 12 miles of canal had been completed. By 1779, the canal had reached Sallins with a harbour at James’ Gate. By 1791 the canal had been extended as far as Ringsend where the Grand Canal Docks were opened in 1796. The La Touche Bridge was one of a series of bridges built in the early 1790s along the stretch of the Grand Canal between Rialto and Ringsend. When completed in 1791 the bridge was a standard humpback masonry bridge of granite but in the late nineteenth century it was remodeled and given a flat deck with cast-iron balustrades while retaining the stone abutments at either end of the bridge. The reason for remodeling the bridge may have been to facilitate the trams which ran out to Rathmines and its township suburbs. The bridge derives its name from William Digges La Touche, a member of a Huguenot family who opened a bank in Castle Street in 1735. The family bank become one of the most prominent private banks in Dublin during the eighteenth century and survived until 1870 when it merged with the Munster Bank and became in effect one of the ancestors of Allied Irish Bank.

Historic/Original Architect(s)