Alexander Nimmo

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Alexander Nimmo
NationalityBritish/Irish (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland)

Alexander Nimmo FRSE MRIA MICE HFGS (1783–1832) was a Scottish civil engineer and geologist active in early 19th-century Ireland.

Life and career[edit]

Sarsfield Bridge, Limerick
Dunmore Harbour, Waterford

Nimmo was born in Cupar, Fife in 1783 the son of a watchmaker, and grew up in Kirkcaldy.[2] He was educated at Kirkcaldy Grammar School then studied at the University of St Andrews and University of Edinburgh. His first role was as Rector of Inverness Academy in 1802 aged only 19. Around 1805 he became a Commissioner for the Scottish Boundaries Commission. In 1811 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh for his contributions to marine geology. His proposers were George Steuart Mackenzie, Alexander Christison, and Thomas Allan.[3]

From 1811 he worked in Ireland as an engineer, with his first major task being for the Commission for the Reclamation of Irish Bogs.[3] This was apparently on the recommendation of Thomas Telford. In 1814 he designed a new harbour at Dunmore in Waterford. In 1815 he improved the navigation on the river at Cork and improved the adjacent harbour at Cobh. From 1820 he was employed by the Irish Fisheries Board to make extensive surveys and recommendations for Irelands fishing harbours.[4]

In 1830 he was commissioned by the Knight of Kerry to design a new village on Valentia Island in County Kerry, which was later named Knightstown.[5] His maritime engineering designs combined classical motifs with utilitarian functionality.[1] Amongst other projects, he is credited with designing the village of Knightstown, County Kerry.,[5] the road from Galway to Clifden and the harbour of Roundstone in Connemara.[6] In the 1830s he redesigned over 30 harbours on the western Irish coast. At Limerick one of his major projects was the Wellesley Bridge which was constructed 1824 to 1835 (it is now known as the Sarsfield Bridge).[4]

Nimmo died at his home 78 Marlborough Street in Dublin on 20 January 1832.[2]


  • Boscovitch's Theory (1812)
  • Navigation Inland (1821)
  • On the Application of the Science of Geology to the purposes of Practical Navigation (1823)

Further reading[edit]

  • Wilkins, Noël P., ed. (15 April 2009). Alexander Nimmo, Master Engineer, 1783–1832: Public Works and Civil Surveys. Irish Academic Press Ltd. ISBN 978-0-7165-2995-8.


  1. ^ a b c Fenlon, Jane; Maguire, Hugh (2010). An Introduction to the Architectural Heritage of County Waterford (Revised ed.). Dublin: Wordwell Press/Government of Ireland, Department of the Environment, Heritage, and Local Government, National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. pp. 36–37.
  2. ^ a b "Alexander Nimmo". Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  3. ^ a b Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783 – 2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X.
  4. ^ a b "Nimmo, Alexander". Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Knightstown" (PDF). West Iveragh Settlements Local Area Plan. Kerry County Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 November 2010. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  6. ^ Journal of the Clifden & Connemara Heritage Group, Vol. 2, No. 1, 1995

External links[edit]