So Sunday, I finally got out on the road again for a fun filled day of Ruin hunting and exploration. Despite the overcast skies and the ongoing threat of rain at any moment I packed the car early and hit the road, hoping to make something of the day. Surprisingly once I crossed the Kildare border into Laois, The clouds disappeared and allowed the Sun to shine through. The Sun gods were definitely shining down on me for this trip. So first port of call was to find the castle in Tinnakill, easy enough, but wait? How to reach it, that became an issue. I could clearly see the ruin in adjacent fields over the hedgerow but there was no visible way to reach it. And with no one around to ask, I decided to put this castle on hold for another time.
And this is where Skeagh Bridge comes into the story. I have seen a number of these strange bridges dotted around the Laois country side and often wondered what they were. It’s quite strange looking at a bridge in the middle of a field with neither water nor tracks running underneath. As it happens these bridges were once part of the Mountmellick Canal which extended from my town of Monasterevin, through Portarlington and Mountmellick. The canal was used for over 100 years to transport people, materials and coal. However with the arrival of the Railways, the canal systems went into decline as a viable mode of transport. The Mountmellick section of the canal finally closed down in 1960. Since then much of it has dried up and either been filled in or over grown by nature. The bridge of Skeagh is one of only a few reminders of the existence of a waterway in the area.