Prior to the modern structure of Mathew Bridge, there was a previous bridge on this site known simply as New Bridge, which was built when the West Watergate was demolished in 1761. Mathew Bridge was completed in July 1846 and the contractor was John Duggan.
This bridge connected the old English town with the Newtownpery.
It was named after Fr. Theobald Mathew a friar who launched a national temperance movement. In 1846 it is said that he had obtained 180,000 disciple in Limerick at the time the population of Limerick city and county was about 250,000.
There is a benchmark in the centre of Mathew Bridge marking its position on the ordnance survey map of the nineteenth century.