Located just beside Whites Castle, spanning the banks of the Barrow river lies the bridge of Crom Abu. The bridge which serves as a main crossing point for traffic in the town also commands fantastic veiws of the Barrow. As mentioned in my previous post Athy is named after a second century chieftain, Ae, who was killed on the river crossing thus giving the town its name the ford of AE or in Irish Baile Átha Í.
Fords played an important role in ancient Ireland as roads were nothing more than rough tracks and rivers which were important landmarks were crossed by fords. Athy was an important fording point on the river Barrow. This is confirmed by the quantity of archaeological objects retrieved from the bed of the river in the 1920s. These included Neolithic axeheads, Bronze Age swords and spearheads and a variety of Iron Age tools. There is no evidence, however, of a settlement at the ford until the latter end of the twelfth century. Crom Abu Bridge is said to have taken its name from the war cry of the Fitzgeralds who ruled over much of Kildare.
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