Twinned with PlourivoFrance

 

Clapper Bridge Near Ballybeg Abbey:
        Long ago where streamlets were not deep a number of stepping stones or "clocher" were used in getting from one
 side to the other. On large rivers a "tochar" or causeway was made of large boulders heaved one after the other into the water till eventually they came above the surface.
About the year 750A.D. wooden bridges came into use but it was not until the coming of the Anglo-Normans in the
 12th century that stone bridges became general. The first attempts were primitive and were known as "Clappe" bridges
 which were of cyclopean mould and composed of enormous stones. The roadway or passage on top is made of huge  transverse slabs 9 to 12 ft. long and 4 or 5 ft. wide and thick in proportion. This bridge in Springfield was erected in the
 early part of the 13th century by the Augustinian Friars of Ballybeg for convenience in crossing the Awbeg to their mill and lands beyond. The transverse slabs measure 9 to 10 ft. in length and are wide and thick in proportion and each weighs a ton. Five arches can still be seen and three of the largetransverse slabs.    A few Clapper or Cyclpean bridges also exist in Devonshire, but they are now very rare and this one at Springfield is the finest in Ireland and well worth a visit. These Clapper bridges were probably so called from the resemblance of the spanning transverse stresses, running from buttress to buttress and very long and comparatively thin in proportion to their length to the clapper or staves of a barrel. The stone of which the Springfield Bridge is composed is limestone of which there is abundance in the adjacent quarry.