Freeman’s Journal 4th December, 1851 p4
The crowning finish was given on Saturday the 19th of July to the great line of railway from Dublin to Galway, by placing the last rail on the Shannon Bridge. This splendid structure is 500 feet in length and constructed of wrought iron girders, with openings of 165 feet in the clear.
Mr Hermans, the chief engineer of the line, came with a staff of assistants to witness the completion of the bridge and test its strength by driving the locomotive over it. By ten o’clock at night, after great exertion, the closing rail was cut and laid in place, and amidst the cheers of a great crowd of spectators, the Venus engine was driven four times rapidly from end to end of the bridge, which bore the weight without the slightest apparent deflexion. The line was to be inspected for the Government in the course of the ensuing week and would be open to the public on the 1st of August