The Belfast Telegraph printed our letter regarding the Burra Charter. It would be our view that very few people would have any knowledge of the Burra Charter and that includes our public representatives. The Belfast News Letter also printed the letter.


A rally was held near the Boyne Bridge on 6th August. Even though the rain was pouring down, 50 persons stood in the rain for over an hour in protest against the plans to demolition the bridge.

On Saturday 28th May, the Sandy Row Community unveiled the Northern Ireland's Centenary Mural. All work was voluntary and the community paid for the mural without any public funding. Well done everyone! It was also an honour to be asked to unveil the mural and an encouragement to hear the gathering of local people shout out their opposition to the proposed demolition of the Boyne Bridge. I spoke on the subject of "Loyal Sandy Row" and highlighted some events from 1690 until 1971, demonstrating that the "Row" had well earned the title "Loyal Sandy Row."

Billy Dickson BEM.

Click on the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_b9uVAxfTgU


We are keen to hear from anyone who could assist us in our campaign. Email boynebridge@yahoo.com



Poster on Boyne Bridge. Please sign the petition by going to link: http://chng.it/yG5vLyJ4

The Great Bridge was built by Lord Edward Chichester. Died 1648


Link to petition:   




REPORT IN THE Ballymena Weekly Telegraph - Saturday, 20 March 1937: 


The Great Bridge was built in 1642 by Lord Edward Chichester, afterwards Viscount Chichester of Carrickfergus, brother to the Lord Deputy and father of the Ist Earl of DonegalI, as appears in the Corporate Records:—“24 die Junii 1642. It is agreed that the Bridge shall be finished att the charge of the Lord Chichester whoe hath begun itt, the wch his Lord’s Officers have undertaken to do.” In the previous April, 2,500 men, under the command of General Robert Monro, arrived at Carrickfergus from Scotland, and a portion of the armed force was quartered at “Malone, quite close to Belfast," that Lord Edward saw the importance having a Bridge over the Owynvarra, and, as a soldier, he would realize its strategic importance. Seventy-five years after its erection, the Grand Jury made an assessment (1717) for building buttresses “to support the Salt Water Bridge and for other repairs about the said Bridge.” It was adjoining what is left of the “Great Bridge of Belfast” that the new Boyne Bridge was opened last December by the Rt. Hon. the Lord Mayor of Belfast. During the interval, close upon three centuries, between the building of the Great Bridge of Belfast and the opening of the Boyne Bridge, much water, both metaphorically and literally, has flowed beneath the bridge. An armed force encamped upon the banks of the Owynvarra during the Irish Rebellion of the 17th century: William 111, marching across the Great Bridge and halting at Cranmore, Malone, on his way to the Battle of the Boyne: the old Dublin Coach tumbling along past the Brick Pitts through which the Great Northern Railway now conveys the passengers to Dublin and the South. All that has been transformed, and today, in the 20th century, what was formerly the Brick Kiln Land has become a busy hive of industrial activity, with the Whitehall Tobacco Works supplanting the Brick Hills of the 18th century. The celebrated Dutch geographer, Herman Moll, in his coloured Map of Ireland (1714), “according to the newest and most exact observations,” includes “Brickill Br” and “Drum Bridge" and omits any mention of the Long Bridge. That was not an oversight of the geographer, but the omission was due entirely to the fact that the Long Bridge was of little or no importance from a strategical point: whereas the Brickill Bridge and Drum Bridge, being on the direct road from the south, the most likely quarter from which an attack would be made on Belfast, were, at least in the opinion of Herman Moll, of sufficient strategical importance to be included in a Map of Ireland.






Archaeological Evaluation & Bridge Coring Report


Transport Hub Alternatives Group (THAG) consists of groups including the Boyne Bridge Defenders and individuals committed to saving the Boyne Bridge at Sandy Row, Belfast. THAG had been waiting for the result of the findings of an Archaeological Evaluation & Bridge Coring in September 2019. The investigation was to establish or otherwise the existence of the 1642 Great Bridge; the name was later changed to the Salt Water Bridge. THAG were not made aware that the report was complete and available on the Planning Portal NI and it was only after a question was asked about it at Stormont, that we received the information.

For THAG to be kept in the dark about the finished report and not to have received a copy is further proof that Translink does not intend to work in any serious way with the local community and other stakeholders. It makes nonsense of the statement by the Chief Executive, Chris Conway on BBC television on 6th November 2019. Mr Conway stated, “certainly these issues (concerns about the Boyne Bridge) have been talked through and discussed and we are very pleased that we have the support of communities going forward.” They certainly were not discussed with THAG and Translink do not have our support for their plans to demolish the Boyne Bridge.

Anyone who cares to look at the Planning Portal NI on which comments are recorded from those who supported the FULL Transport Hub planning application and those against, will discover exactly what support was given to Translink's plans: Only 7 residents throughout Northern Ireland supported Translink's plans with only 4 of them from Belfast. There was not one letter of support from any resident from Sandy Row. A total of 217 residents objected to the FULL planning application, although it can be assumed that the main objection was to the demolition of the Boyne Bridge. There were also petitions in support of the Boyne Bridge, totalling 6,169 names.

7 residents' letters from all over Northern Ireland supporting Translink's Full Planning Application could not be seen as an endorsement. It is also an embarrassment considering the thousands of pounds spent on promoting the plans before the planning application was officially submitted to the planners.

We are left wondering why there was an apparent reluctance to provide us with a copy of the Archaeological Evaluation. Was it because it might contain information that might impact on their plans to demolish the bridge? It might also be the case that Translink hoped to get a quick decision from the Dfc Historic Division without getting THAG involved.

What I have read from the report confirms the existence of the historic fabric of the Saltwater Bridge and that it will remain in situ. This is a major success in THAG’s campaign. We now focus on saving the 1936 Boyne Bridge which incorporates the Saltwater Bridge.

We take encouragement from a letter issued by the DfC Historic Environment Division in which they require further design details on bridge profiling works to establish preservation of the historic fabric of Saltwater Bridge.

THAG regret that we have 'lost' over a year by not being informed about the report and one copy which I printed out myself is not sufficient for all of our members to study.

Finally, there is only one sure way of protecting the 1642 bridge and that is keeping the existing Boyne Bridge.



Billy Dickson BEM


Coordinator THAG



External Link


15.10.2019 14:20

Isobel Hylands

Another of our heritage sites under threat! Good luck with your campaign - we all need to work together to protect our heritage. I am happy to support in any way I can.

14.08.2019 12:07

Thomas Smith

Got your we card at the gates of Windsor Park last night.I work at G V S Station so I'm very interested in your campaign.Save the Boyne bridge.