Outside of salmon season, this 200 year old bridge offers nothing more than mildly pleasant views of Galway Cathedral and the River Corrib. Between April and July however, you can peer over the bridge edge into the fast-moving water and watch the silvery salmon fight their way upstream, back to their traditional spawning grounds on Lough Corrib. At the height of the season, crowds gather on the bridge and watch the salmon stream past.
The salmon weir itself is a low dam built across the river, further downstream from the bridge. The weir was originally built from stone and wood but only two of the original weir gates remain and are only opened in times of flood. The other fourteen gates have been replaced by modern steel gates, specially constructed to allow safe passage for wild Atlantic salmon making the 6km / 3.5 mile journey back to the lake.
View from Salmon Weir Bridge
Built in 1818 , the salmon weir bridge is the oldest surviving bridge over the River Corrib. The original purpose of the structure was to link the county courthouse with the county gaol on Nun's Island --- the latter having stood where Galway Cathedral now stands.
Stand on the Salmon Weir Bridge between April and July, and you will see anglers on the banks of the Corrib, and wading deep in the river, pulling salmon out of the water like kids pulling candy out of a piñata. So popular is salmon fishing in Galway Weir, that thousands apply for a licence to fish here every year, and a lottery system is used to determine allocation.
For more information, see the Irish Fisheries Board: http://www.fishinginireland.info/salmon/west/galway.htm
Salmon Weir Bridge, Galway. Image by Ella Phillips