A copy of a late eighteenth century illustration by Nathaniel Grogan of the South Gate Bridge and the South Gate Prison on the northern side of the bridge.
It is very likely that a bridge has existed on or near the site of the South Gate Bridge since the arrival of the Vikings in Cork between the ninth and tenth centuries. The Vikings settled on the south island in the present-day South Main Street area and on the south bank of the Lee directly across the river. A bridge or ford almost certainly linked the two settlements.
The first reference to a bridge at Cork is in the Annals of the Four Masters for 1163, when it was recorded that 'Muircheartach Ua Maelseachlainn, i.e. the son of Domhnall, royal heir of Teamhair, fell off the bridge of Corcach, and was drowned in the Sabhrann.' Sabhrann was an old name for the south channel of the River Lee.
The heads of executed criminals were displayed on spikes on top of the South Gate Prison during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
South Gate Bridge / Droichead an Gheata Theas
Another drawing of the South Gate Bridge in the eighteenth century.
A photograph of the South Gate Bridge taken from Proby's Bridge in the 1960s.
A photograph of the South Gate Bridge from Sullivan's Quay. The premises on the north-western and north-eastern sides of the bridge occupied the site of the old South Gate Prison.
Download these images in PDF format from the links below:South Gate Bridge, drawing (1)(305KB)