Bessbrook still has many traces of the model village shaped by a Quaker linen manufacturer, John Grubb Richardson, around the middle of the 19th Century. Its founder believed that alcohol was the main cause of poverty and crime and decided that Bessbrook has no need for licensed premises, a pawn ship or a police station.

Construction began on Craigmore Viaduct in 1849 and the bridge was opened in 1852. The 18 arch viaduct designed by Sir John O’Neill sweeps across the valley of Camlough River, the highest arch being 126ft making it the highest viaduct in Ireland. The viaduct now carries the Enterprise Train link from Belfast to Dublin.