Please take time to look at this video; it contains important information. The most recent rally in Sandy Row was held in pouring rain, but as many as 50 braved the bad weather to state their opposition to the demolishing of the Boyne Bridge. Now please click on the link to view the video, thank you.

The Boyne Bridge (

A podcast by Jason Burke 

I'm Billy Dickson BEM and wish to personally say -

Welcome to the Boyne Bridge Site !


Link to petition - CLICK HERE:




We the undersigned, wish to record our opposition to the possible interference or removal of any part of the remains of the 1642 Great Bridge of Belfast, which became known by different names including Brick-kilm Bridge, Brickill Bridge, Brick-hill Bridge, Brickle Bridge, Salt Water Bridge and the present name of Boyne Bridge. The bridge is encased within the southern approach to the present 1936 Boyne Bridge and is the earliest surviving bridge in Belfast. We call upon the Department for Communities, Historic Environment Division to not only list the remains of the Great Bridge and possibly those of a 1611 bridge, but the historic site at which it is situated, as an ancient crossing place along with many associations with the many early developments in Belfast. The importance of the site is clearly outlined In George Ben's history of the town of Belfast, in which he went as far as saying that it represented what was then the town of Belfast. We also call for a significant feature to be constructed that would identify the location of the remains of the ancient bridge and the site.

Please sign our petition to let the Department for Communities, Historic Environment Division know that listing the historical remains and site are important to our heritage.



In 1625 Arthur Chichester died and was succeeded by his brother Edward, Viscount Chichester of Carrickfergus. He constructed a new bridge across the Blackstaff consisting of three arches and named it 'The Great Bridge of Belfast. The structure received its first major test when Colonel Venables, Commander of Oliver Cromwell’s army, marched north from Drogheda. He brought with him a baggage train complete with heavy guns, crossed over the river and seized the town. The bridge had to be repaired afterwards. With the building of the Bridge over the Lagan in 1685 consisting of 21 arches, the word 'Great was dropped from the Viscount's bridge and it became known as 'Brickhill Bridge after the nearby 'Brick Pitts' (Moore, 1951).

Another army some 45 years later crossed over the bridge with the same intention of capturing the town. This time it was an Irish army of King James, who succeeded in taking the town for a short period. He then retreated across the bridge as the army of Schomberg advanced from the north Down in hot pursuit. The strength of the arches was once again put to the test, as teams of horses dragged the heavy cannons across it. Its name appears to have been changed, some years later when it became known as the 'Saltwater bridge' in acknowledgement of the point where the tidal waters of the estuary went no farther. In 1717 the Grand Jury made an assessment for building buttresses "to support the saltwater Bridge and for other repairs above the bridge" (Young, 1896). 1he bridge lacked a footpath and used angular recesses or niches above the piers.

Apart from facilitating the movement of men, animals and cannon, the bridge was used to carry water pipes across to serve the needs of the town’s population. The remains of these wooden pipes were discovered when a new bridge, christened the 'Boyne Bridge', was built across the river in 1935.

The bridge across the Blackstaff witnessed the comings and goings of herdsmen and traders bringing their cattle, sheep and goods for sale at markets outside the walls of the settlement at the mouth of the Farset. It witnessed the approach of Kings and Generals, but surprisingly it was not the scene of any major battles despite its strategic location. However, it did become the scene of sectarian rioting between mobs from the Roman Catholic Pound Loney and Protestants from Sandy Row in 1864. In more recent times, the bridge retained something of its former strategic importance when protests were mounted at the foot of the bridge against outsiders coming in to buy property in Sandy Row.

Today the bridge from a historical perspective hides all that has happened at this crossing of ages past. All that remains are memories written down in journals and maps that bear scant testimony to the momentous events at this crossing where the tidal waters reached.

The above is from the book, RIVERS OF BELFAST by Des O'REILLY


Book by Mr. S. Shannon Millin, B.A. 1937


In the early seventies of the last century, Mr. Thomas Gaffikin delivered a lecture on “Belfast Fifty Years Ago”, in which he says:

“The old Long Bridge was composed of twenty-one arches; it was very narrow; and had no footways. The breakwater or pier between some of the arches was carried up to the retaining wall and formed little angular recesses, which people sometimes had to step into when two conveyances were passing. Two of such niches are still to be seen on the old Salt Water Bridge, Sandy Row.”

That statement of Mr. Giffikin is corroborative proof that the original bridge had three arches, as each angular recess or niche was above a pier separating the arches and there was no occasion for a recess at either end. One of these arches had evidently disappeared during the sixty years that had ended in 1935 when the reconstruction of the Boyne Bridge was begun.

Fortunately, through the thoughtful foresight of Mr. A. H. George, one of the staff of the Municipal Museum, the outline of the original bridge has been preserved for all time by a photographic reproduction which shows not only the graceful curvature of its two remaining arches, but the angular recess on the roadway, used by pedestrians to avoid the vehicular traffic.

The photograph was taken on 21st June, 1935, before the old wooden pipe was removed from its original position, where it had lain for two and a half centuries. The pipe is placed from north to south and the tapering spigot is at the north end. The wooden pipe itself measures 14 feet, having a bore of 4 ½ inches while the thickness of the body is 2 inches. The men are engaged in sinking for the foundations of the pier which supports the Boyne Bridge on the south side of the main railroad to Dublin. From the position of the pipe it would seem that the line of wooden piping ran beneath the Great Northern Railroad, but whether the wooden pipes were removed at the time of forming the railroad is not known.

During the rebuilding of the Boyne Bridge, the Great Bridge of Belfast, alias Brickill Bridge, alias Salt Water Bridge, was incorporated in the reconstruction. Two of the original arches, built of local blue whinstone and covering a stretch of 46 feet from north to south, were then, according to Mr. Henry Martin, Senior Director of H. & J. Martin, Ltd., still good and sound. But to-day one lookes in vain for that sole survival of the seventeenth century Belfast. Build in 1642, during the troublesome times of the Rebellion of that period, it had more historic associations than any other part of the city. Its arches had resounded to the endless tramp of armies, marching to and from town; the structure had endured the weight of the Duke of Schomberg’s heavy artillery on his march southward to the Boyne; it was the route of William 111 and his attendant officers on 19th June, 1690, after landing at Carrickfergus five days earlier from the Mary Yacht, under the Command of Captain Grenville Collins, and resting in Belfast Castle during the interval; it was the direct road to Lisburn and the South of Ireland, to and from which the old Coach and Six trundle along with the occasional blast of the Coachman’s Horn; and underneath its curved arches flowed an ample supply of water from The Squire’s Hill, after the Clowney Water had joined the overflow from Truch Mill Dam to form the “Ryver of Owynvarra” which, for a lengthened period of time, was the driving power of Joy’s Paper Mill of vanished past. With all such venerable and historic associations the Great Bridge of Belfast has been, so to speak, buried alive in a concrete coffin, without a nameplate to indicate its former existence, or even its place of interment.

Boyne Bridge wooden pipes in Ulster Museum Store.


07.10.2022 15:16


The people of this site should seriously consider starting a fundraiser to relocate the bridge like they did the original London Bridge as megaprojects always come out on top. Especially in this case.

02.07.2022 23:22


piss cum, beans

11.06.2022 08:31

Alister Hill

Save this bridge with such historical significance of carrying King William III's army that brought us all the victorious Glorious Revolution; which was freedom for all to worship God.

12.05.2021 14:47

Jenny Lynn

Save Our History ,Save Our Bridge

26.11.2019 21:01

James wilson

This is part of our history and in any other country demolition of history would be challenged. Its time to challenge, keep the bridge intact

21.11.2019 13:14

Daren Field

History should always be saved for future generations

25.09.2019 21:13

Siobhan McElroy

What a loss this would be to everyone who calls this bridge home.

21.09.2019 19:23

James A. Duly

The bridge is too important a facet of Belfast history to lose.

15.09.2019 10:04

Ellen Thompson

Leave the boyne bridge alone it been there along time, and is part of history.

14.09.2019 08:10

sharon leetch

It really needs to be saved

13.09.2019 20:15

carol leneghan

be sad to see it go,

12.09.2019 21:46

annie mcloughlin

Its a Land mark, nothing secterian about it.

07.09.2019 06:55

John McCann

Walked over the Boyne bridge countless times.
Once it’s gone so is our history preserve the Boyne bride & it’s history

06.09.2019 02:48

David Wright

The destruction of this bridge would be another step in the ruining of this once-vibrant area. We could expect the next step to be student housing and the loss of all local character. Stop it now!

31.08.2019 19:53

Sylvia Ewings Mcainsh

My great great great grandad would have crossed that bridge
Alexander Ewings Belfast then Scotland I will sign in his memory 🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧

27.08.2019 23:32

Karen Ardrey

We need to preserve our history

27.08.2019 08:47

warren patterson

History is precious and we must do all we can to preserve it, list the bridge by all means and allow us as a city to make more from it in terms of a tourist attraction

27.08.2019 07:20

Alan R Gault

We should try to protect all parts of our shared history. We need this saved and kept in good condition.

26.08.2019 10:56

george mole

Historically this needs to be preserved for those who come after us.

23.08.2019 11:39

Jim Oneill

I used to go here as my brother and his family stayed there places like this should be respected

23.08.2019 02:26

Jackie barr

100 percent agree, SAVE THE BRIDGE.

22.08.2019 21:48

George Laverty

Our History Our Heritage Our Future

22.08.2019 21:19

Barbara Harvey

Don't let this special part of our history disappear.

22.08.2019 17:18

Sandra coulter

Don't let another price of our history disapear

22.08.2019 14:13

Archibald Reid

Surely this has to saved for it's historic to the area.

22.08.2019 12:36

alan toal

Keep up the good work, save the bridge

22.08.2019 12:36

Alan Burns

This part of history must be kept.

22.08.2019 12:04

Alexandra Jessiman

Save this historic site

22.08.2019 11:41

George Wilson

The importance of this site should always be remembered

22.08.2019 11:07

Heather Potter

Save this important piece of history

22.08.2019 11:00

Noeline McConvey

This bridge must be saved as a piece of history in this country.

22.08.2019 10:22

Robert. Mcwilliams

Please save our bridge it’s been there longer that me please keep it for the people of sandy row

21.08.2019 14:28


Save the bridge 🇬🇧

21.08.2019 10:37

Maureen Cabrey

It is hard to believe that such an historic site is even under threat.

20.08.2019 08:14

Valerie McCann

Think it’s shocking that they are planning on taking such an historic part off Sandy Row away don’t agree with it at all.its a shambles.

19.08.2019 13:11

James Gowdy

no surrender

18.08.2019 20:09

Jim Gillespie

Please conserve the bridge I was born and reared in Sandy Row and have so many memories of it especially the amount of workers who used it to get to and from work in the 60s

17.08.2019 16:19

Robert Scott Armour

Please don't knock down a great part of Belfast history it was part of my growing up and I hope in my visit home .

15.08.2019 12:56

robert shanks

Save the Boyne bridge

14.08.2019 21:53



14.08.2019 21:04

Thomas Matchett

Save the Boyne Bridge

14.08.2019 20:35

Stephen quinn

Save the Boyne bridge

05.08.2019 06:06

Janis Hughes

Keep the Boyne Bridge. Belfast has changed beyond recognition. We’ve already lost the Opera House, the Ritz and the GNR. KEEP THE BOYNE BRIDGE

02.08.2019 11:26

Iris Gallagher

Bridge must stay, plenty of other places for a hub,

31.07.2019 23:33

Thomas Raymond Mackin

Born & spent first 12 years in good old Sandy Row. The Boyne bridge MUST stay. No IF,s Buts or Maybe,s

23.07.2019 17:19

Brian Blakely

History History History

20.07.2019 13:27

Deborah Parr

Definitely preserve! What the Luftwaffe and IRA didn't destroy, the planners are finishing off. It must be preserved!! Look at the Skyline n New York - was an old overhead railway - now a park

20.07.2019 10:03

Terry McCorran

We lost to much of historical Belfast to Bombs, we need our old City history maintained.

20.07.2019 08:35

Colin McLeod

With a little imagination the remains of the old bridge can be preserved without interfering with the transport hub.

20.07.2019 07:57

Maureen Metherell

Hasn't enough of Belfast history been destroyed already??

18.07.2019 20:41

Ivy Donnelly

Don’t let the bridge just be a memory of the past.

16.07.2019 19:37

Lorraine strain rodgers

Born and bred beside this bridge and also playing there many a day, it should be nothing else only the Boone bridge.

16.07.2019 18:04

Dawn Hutton


16.07.2019 08:40

Thomas Raymond Mackin

Being born in Sandy Row Imust support this petition as it's part of the Orange Heritage & must be kept

16.07.2019 08:34

Margaret Craig

We need this great bridge.

09.02.2019 14:33

Helen Firth

I fully support the residents fighting to save these Bridges, they are a part of our past and should be preserved, I no longer live in Belfast but it will always be home, preserve don't destroy .

31.03.2018 22:06

Thomas McAuley

Mum is 91 now and recalls skating down the bridge and across Linfield Road when she was a young girl. Bridge should remain.

12.10.2017 23:19

Hilary Taylor (Humphreys)

Childhood memories. Boyne Bridge should remain.

30.09.2017 13:00

Murray Power

Both the 1936 bridge and, in particular the earlier remains that it encompasses - some of the oldest in Belfast - are important heritage structures that ought to be retained in any redevelopment.

18.09.2017 11:33

Jim Gillespie

Born and raised in Sandy Row please preserve the bridge.So many people lost to the area let them keep a memory of tho old place

31.08.2017 12:35

The bridge needs to be saved for the historical heart of Belfast. The GNR has been able to operate under the bridge without any problems why can't the new traffic hub do likewise.

30.08.2017 07:44

Samuel Morrison

Good campaign.

29.08.2017 12:19

Stephen Irwin

save the Boyne bridge

29.08.2017 12:06

W G White

The bridge is an important part of South Belfast and they should build the road elsewhere.

27.08.2017 18:04

Alexander Dewar

this is part of our protestant history and should be kept

26.08.2017 15:57

Elizabeth Copperwaite

This bridge is a part of history,it should be saved for future generations