Much of Bingley is an island between the canal and River Aire. Bingley was founded at a ford on the River Aire, probably in Saxon times. It was likely that this ford was replaced by Ireland Bridge in medieval times. The bridge was rebuilt in 1686 although the parapet may be from later in the 18th Century.
To the East a long weir funnelled water to power the works. These started out as a Corn Mill before becoming a forge. Later for much of the 1900s it was a fat refinery. The mill was demolished in 1984 and replaced with housing.
The bridge was originally named Bingley Bridge. However after Irish immigrants came to work in the Bingley mills it changed its name. These workers often visited the Brown Cow Inn, which meant going across the bridge. The Brown Cow acquired the nickname of “The Irish Inn” and this led to the bridge being similarly named.
The now unused mill race flows under the Northern end of bridge. Here it now serves a pool and weir fish passes to allow fish to cross the weir.