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REPORT IN THE Ballymena Weekly Telegraph - Saturday, 20 March 1937: 


The Great Bridge was built in 1642 by Lord Edward Chichester, afterwards Viscount Chichester of Carrickfergus, brother to the Lord Deputy and father of the Ist Earl of DonegalI, as appears in the Corporate Records:—“24 die Junii 1642. It is agreed that the Bridge shall be finished att the charge of the Lord Chichester whoe hath begun itt, the wch his Lord’s Officers have undertaken to do.” In the previous April, 2,500 men, under the command of General Robert Monro, arrived at Carrickfergus from Scotland, and a portion of the armed force was quartered at “Malone, quite close to Belfast," that Lord Edward saw the importance having a Bridge over the Owynvarra, and, as a soldier, he would realize its strategic importance. Seventy-five years after its erection, the Grand Jury made an assessment (1717) for building buttresses “to support the Salt Water Bridge and for other repairs about the said Bridge.” It was adjoining what is left of the “Great Bridge of Belfast” that the new Boyne Bridge was opened last December by the Rt. Hon. the Lord Mayor of Belfast. During the interval, close upon three centuries, between the building of the Great Bridge of Belfast and the opening of the Boyne Bridge, much water, both metaphorically and literally, has flowed beneath the bridge. An armed force encamped upon the banks of the Owynvarra during the Irish Rebellion of the 17th century: William 111, marching across the Great Bridge and halting at Cranmore, Malone, on his way to the Battle of the Boyne: the old Dublin Coach tumbling along past the Brick Pitts through which the Great Northern Railway now conveys the passengers to Dublin and the South. All that has been transformed, and today, in the 20th century, what was formerly the Brick Kiln Land has become a busy hive of industrial activity, with the Whitehall Tobacco Works supplanting the Brick Hills of the 18th century. The celebrated Dutch geographer, Herman Moll, in his coloured Map of Ireland (1714), “according to the newest and most exact observations,” includes “Brickill Br” and “Drum Bridge" and omits any mention of the Long Bridge. That was not an oversight of the geographer, but the omission was due entirely to the fact that the Long Bridge was of little or no importance from a strategical point: whereas the Brickill Bridge and Drum Bridge, being on the direct road from the south, the most likely quarter from which an attack would be made on Belfast, were, at least in the opinion of Herman Moll, of sufficient strategical importance to be included in a Map of Ireland.


 Botanic Temperance L.O.L No. 1119 is the oldest Orange lodge in the Sandy Row District L.O.L. No.5. It was once named the BOYNE BRIDGE HEROES. During a riot in the year 1856, a crowd from the Pound attacked Protestants as they left Christ Church after a Boyne Anniversary Service. (Church on the left; just out of photo).

There was no parade by the Orangemen, but it was reported in the Roman Catholic press that the sermon of Dr Drew, Rector of the church had incensed the people of the Pound. This statement was ludicrous as it would have been impossible to have read this sermon right outside the church never mind in the Pound. It was made public in the Down Protestant Newspaper on the 17th July, 5 days after it was made. This is surely proof that the mob gathered in the Pound Loney was intent only in attacking the Orangemen as they left the church. The Roman Catholic mob swept up Durham Street, causing all kinds of carnage on Protestant houses as they went, however, the men of Sandy Row quickly assembled at the Saltwater Bridge and confronted the mob and drove them back to the Pound. To the men of Sandy Row, the Blackstaff River became the Boyne River and the bridge, the Boyne Bridge.

From that day the bridge was named “The Boyne Bridge”.  To honour those who defended Sandy Row in 1856.  One lodge L.O.L 1119 changed its name to the Boyne Bridge Heroes. When the Salt Water Bridge was incorporated into the 1936 bridge, it was officially named “The Boyne Bridge”.   “Information from Sandy Row History” November 14, 2010.