The Metal Bridge and Rail Line
This was the most westerly railway line in Europe until it was closed in 1960. In 1881 the GS and WR commenced construction of the rail branch line from Farranfore junction to Killorglin, a distance of 12.5 miles at a cost of £7000 per mile. The sandstone used in the construction of St. James’ Church (1888-1891) was transported from Castlemaine via the newly opened rail line. The line also served as a vital connection for those living in South Kerry. For one traveling the entire route from Farranfore to Renard Point, the first architectural feat you would have come across was the Metal Bridge. The bridge itself was constructed in 1884 and comprises of single arch sections to the east and to the west with limestone and red brick voussoirs, coupled with a three span section to the centre with bow-string cast iron girders on tapered limestone piers. The bridge underwent repairs in 1950. On January 30, 1960 the last train passed over the bridge, as a result of Tod Andrew’s decision to close many rural rail lines.
An attempt in 1962 to dismantle the ironwork of the bridge was prevented only after some of the footplates were removed, making it almost impossible and certainly dangerous to walk across. It was renovated in 1993 to accommodate use as a footbridge. Many of the townspeople enjoy an evening stroll across the bridge while getting a fine view of the Laune, with the Reeks forming a magnificent backdrop.