Bridge of Tears

I saw this post at our friend Le Drake Noir’s blog and I thought that the image portrayed a kind of content happiness, a lady waiting for a loved one to return.  For some reason, it reminded me of a place I once visited in Ireland, which, for me, gives quite the opposite feeling. We were out for a drive, taking in the scenery (a beautiful place, Ireland) and we stopped so I could take this picture, (as we often do), before we reached the bridge. It was a dull and overcast day, having a somewhat melancholic feel to it – perhaps because we were returning hope next day. The little bridge is located in County Donegal, Ireland. It has a number of names, all of a similar meaning – The Bridge of Sorrows, The Crying Bridge and The Bridge of Tears.  There’s a plaque to the right of the bridge giving an overview of the reason for the name. People on the west side of the large ‘Muckish Mountain’ had to walk  over this bridge on their trudge to the port of Derry (aka Londonderry) on the Eastern side of Ireland.  And it was here they would part company with their loved ones.  Loved ones who were to be left behind to face the famine and poverty that the travellers were attempting to escape from.  The travellers were seeking a better life, typically in Canada and US.   And it was here tears were shed at the knowledge they would never see each other again, possibly never hearing from each other or of each other – back in the 19th and early 20th century communication was almost not existent, trips were invariably one way. No wonder the bridge has the name it has (Thank you, Alexander Bell, Guglielmo Marconi, and others – I wonder if you realised just what you did for us!)

——Stephen—–

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23 thoughts on “Bridge of Tears

    • I suspect the emotions must have been very mixed. Sorrow certainly, but also relief on both sides, pride perhaps, bravery, heroism, sacrifice.

      From a photographic sense, I would really love to have a crack at the bridge from different angles, especially on a misty/foggy day.

  1. Thanks for this piece of history. I can imagine fitting it in with my museum job where I tell the story of an Irish immigrant in Wisconsin. She left County Longford with husband and infant and later was widowed in the new place with 3 small children. A life of moving through change and goodbyes.

    • I guess the basic story is true for many people of different nationalities, travelling to new places, leaving loved ones behind and dealing with whatever the new life throws at them. I’m sure many would wonder if it was all worthwhile – but each of us must thank them, otherwise we may not have been here.

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