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Ireland’s longest bridge honours John F Kennedy’s family

The N25 New Ross Bypass includes a bridge spanning the River Barrow between counties Wexford and Kilkenny.

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Rose Katherine Kennedy Townsend, grand niece of the late president John F Kennedy, at the opening of Ireland’s longest bridge, in New Ross, Co Wexford (Brian Lawless/PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Rose Katherine Kennedy Townsend, grand niece of the late president John F Kennedy, at the opening of Ireland’s longest bridge, in New Ross, Co Wexford (Brian Lawless/PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Rose Katherine Kennedy Townsend, grand niece of the late president John F Kennedy, at the opening of Ireland’s longest bridge, in New Ross, Co Wexford (Brian Lawless/PA)

The family of John F Kennedy said they were honoured after Ireland’s longest bridge was named after the former US president’s mother.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Rose Katherine Kennedy Townsend – grand niece of the late president – officially opened the N25 New Ross bypass which includes the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Bridge spanning the River Barrow.

It is expected to shave up to 30 minutes off peak journey times between Cork and Rosslare.

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the opening of Ireland’s longest bridge, in New Ross, Co Wexford (Brian Lawless/PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the opening of Ireland’s longest bridge, in New Ross, Co Wexford (Brian Lawless/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the opening of Ireland’s longest bridge, in New Ross, Co Wexford (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ms Kennedy Townsend, a great-granddaughter of Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, said she felt very grateful to be there.

“It’s a wonderful occasion, it’s a wonderful tribute and I feel very lucky to be representing my entire very large, very global family who all wish that they could be here,” she said.

“But I think that they are here in spirit and we’re all very grateful for this gorgeous bridge.”

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Rose Katherine Kennedy Townsend at the opening of Ireland’s longest bridge (Brian Lawless/PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Rose Katherine Kennedy Townsend at the opening of Ireland’s longest bridge (Brian Lawless/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Rose Katherine Kennedy Townsend at the opening of Ireland’s longest bridge (Brian Lawless/PA)

The complete project cost 230 million euro, and the bridge is set to open to traffic on Thursday.

The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Bridge stretches 887 metres across the River Barrow and joins Kilkenny with Wexford.

Its name celebrates the Kennedy family’s rich heritage in New Ross, as their ancestral home is located in nearby Dunganstown.

The bridge is the longest in Ireland and its main span is the longest extradosed bridge span of its type (a complex cable-stayed structure) in the world.

PA