Landmarks of all shapes and sizes, some man-made, some not.
Click on images to enlarge.
Page updated 19/1/2021
The King’s Hall, Balmoral, Belfast
The King’s Hall – a landmark for rail travellers on the Dublin/Belfast line.
Card by Hurst & Co., Fine Art Warehouse, Belfast.
The Chaine Memorial Tower, Larne
The Chaine Memorial Tower was erected to honour James Chaine, a former MP for Antrim, who died in 1885. Chaine’s claim to fame was his establishing of the short sea route to Scotland and the development of Larne as a transatlantic port. Interestingly, what started out as purely a memorial tower was later adapted to become a lighthouse maintained by the Commissioners of Irish Lights.
Postcard published by Valentines.
The Armagh Planetarium
A 1970s John Hinde card. Today the Armagh Planetarium has been greatly expanded and the domed building, while still being distinctive, has been heavily rebuilt and is part of a large collection of buildings.
The Egyptian Arch, Newry
Above: The Egyptian Arch – a Lawrence card. The so-called Egyptian Arch was designed by Sir John McNeill and completed in 1861 to carry the Dublin/Belfast railway over the Newry to Camlough road.
Unbeknownst to most of the thousands that pass over the bridge every year, it was the scene of a serious incident during the War of Independence. On the 12th December, 1920 the IRA attacked the RIC barracks at nearby Camlough with the intention of drawing relieving forces into an ambush at the Arch. However, things didn’t go according to plan and three IRA volunteers lost their lives in the ensuing firefight.
Known locally as the 18 Arches, Craigmore Viaduct was designed by John Benjamin MacNeill, an eminent Irish civil engineer, with construction beginning in 1849 for the Dublin and Belfast Junction Railway. The bridge was formally opened in 1852 and consists of 18 arches of 60 ft span, the highest being 126ft.
Card published by Valentines.
Spectacle Bridge, Lisdoonvarna, Co.Clare
Single-arch coursed stone road bridge over the River Aille which flows here in a deep gorge, built c. 1850, with cylindrical void over arch. Designed by John Hill.
An early Lawrence card of the unusual structure.
Daly’s Bridge, Sundays Well, Cork
Valentine’s card No. R878. A ‘shakey’ looking pedestrian bridge with timber plank flooring which crosses the River Lee in Cork City. Opened in 1927 it is still in use today. More here: Daly’s Bridge
The County Donegal Railway – Barnesmore Gap
The Co.Donegal Railway cut through the remote Barnesmore Gap like a modern-day motorway and must have seemed Space Age when compared with what went before. The remains of the railway are still a distinctive feature clearly visible from the N15 Donegal/Ballybofey road today. Lawrence card postally used 1930.
Owencarrow Railway Viaduct, Creeslough
On the remote Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway’s line from Letterkenny to Burtonport, the exposed viaduct was the scene of a serious accident in 1925 when gale-force winds blew a train off the line.
The Moat, Donaghadee
This curious little building stands on high ground above the town but was not built as a fortification. Located on the site of a Norman motte and bailey, the mock fort dates from 1818 when it was constructed to house explosives being used in the construction of Donaghadee’s new harbour.
The artificial nature of the original Norman motte (the mound) is more obvious in this colour card by Valentines.
Scrabo Tower, Newtownards, Co.Down
Dating from 1857, the Scrabo Tower was built as a memorial to Charles William Vane, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry and has long been a favourite subject for landscape artists, but one rarely seen in close-up. Details about visiting the tower here.
Card by Valentines.
The American Embassy, Ballsbridge, Dublin.4.
In the Greater Dublin region of the 1970s the American Embassy was an amazing sight in what was then still a largely 19th century city – not a thing of beauty but certainly an iconic structure. These days the view has changed slightly due to the erection of an outer defensive wall but it’s still worth a look.
George IV 1821 Memorial, Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire)
The monument to King George IV’s departure from Kingstown which was erected in 1823. A rather fine monument which has been attacked by republicans many times over the years but has recently been restored to its former glory.
Published by W. Lawrence and p.u in 1911.
A plaque on the obelisk reads:
“To commemorate the visit of the King to this part of his Dominions and to record that on the Third of September 1821 his Majesty in person graciously named the asylum harbour ‘The Royal Harbour of George the Fourth’ and on the same day embarked from hence.”
Nelson Pillar, O’Connell Street, Dublin
Surely the Granddaddy of all man-made landmarks and sadly no longer with us since the 18th March, 1966. The above cards by Valentines give a good impression of its size as well as the excellent view from the top.
Full story here: Nelson Pillar
Martello Tower, Portmarnock
Valentine card ref: R2906.
Weir’s Bridge, Enniskillen
Sligo, Leitrim & Northern Counties Railway. Reliable Series card p.u 1907.
The bridge constructed in 1878 was designed by Edward Fowler (Ballinasloe) and carried the railway across the River Erne near Enniskillen. The ironwork was removed following the closure of the railway in 1957 but the piers remain to this day.
The Farranfore/Valentia Railway line
Lots of railway architecture still visible today along this former branch line which closed in 1960. The so-called Mountain Stage (pictured above) must have provided the traveler with breathtaking views. Postcard by W.Lawrence.
Thomastown Viaduct, Co.Kilkenny
Originally built by the Great Southern & Western Railway in 1850, and rebuilt in its present form in 1877, the viaduct still carries the Dublin/Waterford railway line seventy-eight feet above the River Nore. At the time of its construction, it was longest single span viaduct in the British Isles. View by William Lawrence & Son, Dublin.
Lord Ross Famous Telescope, Birr Castle
No publisher indicated on this early 20th-century card but it’s unlikely to have been the proprietor – the 3rd Earl of Rosse – as his name is spelt incorrectly! The telescope was erected in the 1840’s and, despite appearances above, is still in use today following extensive restoration work in recent times.
More here: Birr Castle Telescope
The Barrow Bridge, Co.Wexford
Lawrence postcard circa 1920/30.
Built across the border of counties Wexford and Kilkenny between 1902 and 1906 to designs by Benjamin Baker, it is the longest railway bridge in Ireland at 2,131 feet long. There was an opening section close to the Kilkenny shore to allow ships access up the river. There are eleven spans of 148 feet, the end spans were 144 feet, with the opening section 215 feet. The contractors were Sir William Arrol & Co., of Glasgow.
It carried the railway from Waterford to Rosslare Harbour which closed to passenger traffic in 2010.
At the western end, the railway enters the 217 yards long Snow Hill tunnel.