Open main menu

The Craigmore Viaduct (Irish: Tarbhealach Craig Mór) is a railway bridge near Bessbrook, County Armagh, Northern Ireland, known locally as the 18 Arches. (OS Grid ref: Jo628). Near Newry railway station.

Craigmore Viaduct
The Craigmore Viaduct - - 1058101.jpg
Coordinates 54°11′36″N 6°22′03″W / 54.1933°N 6.3674°W / 54.1933; -6.3674Coordinates: 54°11′36″N 6°22′03″W / 54.1933°N 6.3674°W / 54.1933; -6.3674
CarriesDublin–Belfast railway line
LocaleBessbrook, Northern Ireland
Official nameCraigmore Viaduct
Other name(s)18 Arches
DesignStone arch
No. of spans18
DesignerJohn Benjamin Macneill
Construction start1849
Construction end1852


The bridge was designed by John Benjamin Macneill, an eminent Irish civil engineer, with construction beginning in 1849 for the Dublin and Belfast Junction Railway. The bridge was formally opened in 1852. It spans the valley of Camlough River. The viaduct consists of 18 arches of 60 ft span, the highest being 126 ft, making Craigmore the tallest viaduct in Ireland. It is around a quarter of a mile long and was constructed from granite stone blocks from the nearby Goraghwood quarry near Goraghwood station, which for many years supplied ballast to the Dublin & Belfast Junction Railway’s lines. The Dublin-Belfast railway line crosses the bridge.[1][2]

Craigmore Viaduct with the Mournes in the distance.
Craigmore Viaduct aka 18 Arches pictured from Bernish Viewpoint, Newry

From 1885 to 1948, the Bessbrook and Newry Tramway ran under the viaduct.

The TroublesEdit

On 2 March 1989, a Provisional Irish Republican Army bomb damaged Craigmore Viaduct, it exploding just four minutes before a passenger train from Dublin was due to leave nearby Newry Station. A clearance operation had to be mounted and the railway line was closed and not reopened until 8 March 1989.[3]


  1. ^ "Craigmore Viaduct". Newry and Mourne Tourism. Archived from the original on 7 September 2008.
  2. ^ Niall V. Torpey. "Irish Railway Bridges-Part 2". Irish Railway Record Society. Retrieved 24 August 2007.
  3. ^ "Dublin-Belfast Railway Line Bombing". Dáil Éireann Parliamentary Debates. 19 April 1989. Archived from the original on 27 November 2007. Retrieved 24 August 2007.

Coordinates: 54°11′38″N 6°22′02″W / 54.19393°N 6.36735°W / 54.19393; -6.36735