By Dan Walsh
For many years now the members of Gorey-Kilmuckridge Municipal District Council have been strongly campaigning for the completion of a footpath between Gorey and Courtown which is being developed in stages and is roughly at the half-way point and is popularly used by the public.
WexfordLocal.com has seen draft plans by Wexford County Council that would see a spectacular new footbridge and it is proposed to purchase private lands from the new owners of Courtown Woods to complete the scheme.
The plans were previously discussed at the May 2018 meeting of the Gorey-Kilmuckridge Council when the course of the footpath was discussed in detail and faced a narrow passage over the historic Ballinatray Bridge over the Ounavarra River about a mile from Courtown Harbour.
WexfordLocal.com believes that the future proposal may include a floodlit path and cycle path over a new metal footbridge with metal railings through Courtown Woods. A few ancient trees may be threatened with removal and the appearance of Ballinatray Bridge may also change!
It is understood that the cost may be carried by Wexford County Council with extra funding from Fáilte Ireland.
HISTORY; A work relief scheme organised by Lord Courtown in 1846 for the benefit of the starving poor consisted of drainage and the construction of a road southwards from Ballymoney crossroads to join Gorey and Courtown Harbour road.
In 1847, the present three-arch bridge at Ballinatray, once known as the Courtown Viaduct and at the time, was the highest stone bridge in the country.
Ballinatray Bridge is a 19th century civil engineering feat designed by James Barry Farrell, (1810-1893), who was the County Surveyor, and other similarly amazing works by him can be admired at Carrigmannon, (1844), near Killurin, and Corbally Bridge (1854) on the Enniscorthy to Oulart Road.
And for the record, Farrell was involved in the design of St Senan’s Hospital, near Enniscorthy, built in the 1860’s and now closed as a hospital and in private ownership.