Roscommon farmer Ned Clogher builds the first private bridge across the River Suck.

In 1977 south Roscommon farmer Ned Clogher bought Clooncoran island from the Land Commission as an extension of his existing 40 acre holding. Clooncoran lies in the middle of a fork in the River Suck, the main tributary of the River Shannon forming much of the border between County Roscommon and County Galway.

Ned Clogher faced the problem of how to farm the the 22 acre island. He tried using a boat to transport his cattle over to Clooncoran, but the vessel capsized twice. He also ruled out using a helicopter,

I couldn’t afford that, Charlie Haughey might.

Enlisting the help of family and friends, over the course of three summers, Ned Clogher built a bridge across the River Suck to his island. The 120 foot bridge cost about £15,000 to complete.

To celebrate the completion of his engineering feat, Ned Clogher organises an official opening for the bridge. The entire village of Carrowreagh come out to congratulate him on his enterprise. Roscommon Fianna Fáil TD Terry Leyden performs the ribbon cutting ceremony and other guests of honour include a local county councillor and the village’s 88 year old War of Independence veteran.

Terry Leyden praises Ned’s resourcefulness in building what he believes is the only private enterprise bridge built over the River Suck.

I think he has achieved something great here today.

Ned’s Clogher’s island cost him in the region of £2000 but access via the bridge has increased its value to £20,000.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 7 December 1981. The reporter is Jim Fahy. The track accompanying this clip is 'Colonel Bogey’.