Crossing a NW-SE section of the River Boyne with the steep sides of the valley rising immediately on the NE side and c. 80m from the river bank on the SW side. Edward Bruce’s army crossed the river at Slane in 1317, but it is not known if a bridge facilitated this. If there was a bridge, it did not survive the flood of 1330. There is a reference to a bridge at Slane in 1599, and the bridge is depicted on the Down Survey (1656) barony and parish maps of Slane. It seems to have been provided with a gate as the Civil Survey (1654) describes ‘a Stone Bridge with an ould castle thereon’ (Simington 1940, 343). The bridge at Slane is marked on Moll’s map of 1714 and on Taylor and Skinner’s 1778 map of the roads of Ireland (Andrews 1969, 41). (O’Keefe and Simington 1991, 153-6; 2016, 172-80)
The bridge with the causeway on the SW side (total L c. 160m) has 13 arches. On the SE or down-river side seven of these have pointed or segmental arches that are probably in their original form. Five of these are in the river and the others are for overflow on the banks. The bridge was expanded in width as can be seen in the join under the arches. The SE side (Wth 4.8m) is original and the NW side (Wth 2.5m) was added and the piers provided with breakwaters, probably in the early nineteenth century.
The above description is derived from the published 'Archaeological Inventory of County Meath' (Dublin: Stationery Office, 1987). In certain instances the entries have been revised and updated in the light of recent research.
Compiled by: Michael Moore
Date of upload: 10 July 2007
Amended: 28 January 2021Description Source: Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage