Festival of Bridges # 16 ~ Tread Softly

The Festival of Bridges brings us to Sligo town, this morning, and thoughts of W.B. Yeats, thanks to Val Rebus who has the brilliant Magnumlady’s Blog

Here is the photograph that Val sent:

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Hyde Bridge, Sligo, Ireland

Val describes the scene as follows:

This is the Hyde bridge in Sligo. The old building in the centre of the photo is the Yeats Memorial Building. It was fermerly the Allied Irish Bank but was given to the Yeats Society in 1973.

You can find out about Yeats and his circle here with an audio-visual exhibition on the life of William Butler Yeats and his contemporaries.

It is also home to ‘The Yeats Library’ which includes over 3,000 titles and 54 years of audio-visual archive which is available for scholars for research purposes.  

Upstairs is the Hyde Bridge Gallery where art exhibitions are held throughout the year.

W.B. Yeats’ poetry is very close to my heart and Val’s photograph brought this particular favourite to mind immediately:

Aedh Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
(W.B. Yeats)
The Festival of Bridges runs until October 31st. Submissions are now closed. 


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Festival of Bridges #15 ~ Irish-American Connections

The connections between Ireland and America are immense and I can’t but think of them when bringing you Rod Figaro’s contribution to The Festival of Bridges.

Rod is a professional photographer, based in New York, and you can find his excellent website here. Bridges feature a lot in Rod’s work and when I asked him about this he said:

As for my fascination for bridges, particularly the ones in New York, their sheer sizes alone can easily capture your attention, and one can never get used to that.

Here is the magnificent photograph that he sent me:

Brooklyn Bridge, New York

Brooklyn Bridge, New York

For years, as I’ve stood on the Promenade here in Tramore, I’ve felt that Brooklyn Bridge and America were what were glittering on the horizon at the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.  By sheer coincidence, we now have a bustling beachfront restaurant on the Prom, called Brooklyn, with the bridge logo!


Brooklyn Cafe, Tramore, Co. Waterford.

It would be impossible for me to leave Rod Figaro’s photograph of Brooklyn Bridge without highlighting the extent to which it is a bridge with a huge connection to poetry.  Here are a few lines from the great Walt Whitman poem “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” which celebrates the exact spot where Brooklyn Bridge, which was completed in 1883, now stands.

The current rushing so swiftly, and swimming with me far away;
The others that are to follow me, the ties between me and them;
The certainty of others–the life, love, sight, hearing of others.

Others will enter the gates of the ferry, and cross from shore to shore;
Others will watch the run of the flood-tide;
Others will see the shipping of Manhattan north and west, and the
heights of Brooklyn to the south and east;
Others will see the islands large and small;
Fifty years hence, others will see them as they cross, the sun half an
hour high;
A hundred years hence, or ever so many hundred years hence, others
will see them,
Will enjoy the sunset, the pouring in of the flood-tide, the falling
back to the sea of the ebb-tide.

I sincerely hope that one day I will finally get to see Brooklyn Bridge with my very own eyes and meet Rod Figaro there to go on the photo-shoot he has so kindly promised.


The Festival of Bridges runs until October 31st. Submissions are now closed. 





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Festival of Bridges #14 ~ Crossing Point

The Festival of Bridges moves back to Ireland this morning with a glorious contribution from Ed Mooney whose blog I discovered a few months back.

Ed, more than any other blogger I am aware of, is absolutely passionate about ancient structures and ruins of Ireland, especially castles, and I feel that his work is playing a huge role in keeping the history and magic of these wonderful places alive.

He sent me a photograph of a bridge at Leighlinbridge in Co. Carlow, little knowing that lovely Leighlinbridge has been the ‘midway’ stopping point in our family for years and years as we journeyed to and from Dublin. His hauntingly beautiful photograph brought me back to all the phone calls, in happy, sad, and ordinary times,  made from Leighlinbridge that raised the collective spirit of the family as they were about ‘coming home.’

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Leighlinbridge, Co. Carlow.

Here’s what Ed wrote about the photogrpagh:

I shot this a number of months ago down in Leighlinbridge. Initially my eye had been drawn to the Castle as I just love these old ruins. Sadly I was unable to gain access as it is on private property. So I went looking for images that I could get. After moving across the Barrow I knew I had to include the bridge and Castle in a shot as one would not have existed without the other.

The bridge was an important crossing point and a castle has stood here since 1181 to protect it. The current nine arch Valerian bridge was built in 1320 by Maurice Jakis, a Canon of Kildare Cathedral.


The Festival of Bridges runs until October 31st. Submissions are now closed. 

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Festival of Bridges #13 ~ A Bridge Like No Other

I’ve been an avid follower of John Grant’s blog Meticulous Mick since it started a few years back. I love his photography and his way with words.

Here’s the stunning photograph and the deeply touching words that accompanied it:

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The Butter Bridge

This bridge can be found in the pass of Rest and be Thankful, Argyllshire, Scotland and is known simply as the “Butter Bridge”. Completed in the mid 18th century as part of the old military road linking Dumbarton to Inveraray, it was heavily used as a drover’s route to bring cattle to the markets of the south.  The new road (A83) now crosses the river a little higher up, leaving the old single span bridge in peace. 

The bridge is set in stunning, wild countryside and with the gurgling river, whistling of the wind and bleat of the sheep, it is easy to just sit here and step back in time.  It is a bridge where one cannot simply pass, a stop is required. Time to reflect, time to rest and time to be thankful. 

For me this bridge holds something deep and personal too; this was the bridge we stopped off at the first time we sought out the place where my father’s grave lies. Around eighteen months later we would return, on our way to the Isle of Mull for a holiday with my sisters and their families. This trip allowed us to witness the elegant granite headstone now in place.

Fast forward another twelve months and we found ourselves at the Butter Bridge once more, on our way to a wedding. A very important wedding; our own.

Of course we have been back since, it is after all a bridge like no other for me.   


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Festival of Bridges #12 ~ A Jersey Tale

The Festival of Bridges brings us to Jersey today, courtesy of Roy McCarthy whose blog Back on the Rock is a real favourite of mine.

Roy has a myriad of interests and is a writer. One of his books is the wonderfully named: A Jersey Midsummer Tale. 

Here’s what Roy sent, and as a person who both honeymooned in Jersey and holidayed there for ten years, I feel like I’ve been transported back to a place I absolutely adore.

The Jersey Eastern Railway opened for business in 1874 but closed in 1929. Here is a secluded little bridge, unknown to many, behind St Clement Parish Hall just before the former Le Hocq Station.


Photo: Roy McCarthy

It’s an easy leap of the imagination to imagine local people walking underneath the bridge 100 years and more ago as the train chugged on its way out towards Gorey.

  An extract from ‘A Jersey Midsummer Tale’.

They picked up speed as they skirted to the south of the sports fields and headed out into the St Clement countryside. At Samares two passengers alighted and two more at Pontorson Lane. The train was clattering along merrily now, along the embankment and through the Le Hocq Lane crossing, up through the cutting, under the coast road bridge before rattling down into Pontac Station.
The Festival of Bridges runs until October 31st. Submissions are now closed unless you have a bridge that you feel you simply HAVE to share. If so, send it on to me at jeatubridy@aol.com. I can never get enough bridges!!






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Festival of Bridges #11 ~ Crossing

We have just moved into Winter Time here in Ireland and it feels like we have crossed  from light into darkness.

It’s at times like this that I find myself turning to poetry as it never fails to serve as a bridge to help me get from one mindset to another.

Red leaves

The Forest of Words

The poem that brought great solace today as the rain poured and the sun seemed to have turned his face away forever was this one:

from What the Light Teaches

Language is the house with lamplight in its windows,
visible across fields. Approaching, you can hear
music; closer, smell
soup, bay leaves, bread – a meal for anyone
who has only his tongue left.
It’s a country; home; family
abandoned; burned down; whole lines dead, unmarried.
For those who can’t read their way in the streets,
or in the gestures and faces of strangers,
language is the house to run to;
in wild nights, chased by dogs and other sounds,
when you’ve been lost a long time,
when you have no other place.
There are nights in the forest of words
when I panic, every step into the thicker darkness,
the only way out to write myself into a clearing,
which is silence.
Nights in the forest of words
when I’m afraid we won’t hear each other
over clattering branches, over 
both our voices calling.
In winter, in the hour
when the sun runs liquid then freezes,
caught in the mantilla of empty trees;
when my heart listens
through the stethoscope of fear,
your voice in my head reminds me
what the light teaches.
Slowly you translate fear into love,
the way the moon’s blood is the sea. 
Anne Michaels 
(Source: Staying Alive, 2002, edited by Neil Astley, Bloodaxe Books)
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Festival of Bridges #10 ~ Sir Thomas

I was delighted to receive a contribution to The Festival of Bridges from Jamie Ryan, a Clonmel-based photographer whose website is here.

This is the photograph that Jamie sent:

Sir Thomas's Bridge, Ferryhouse, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. Photo: Jamie Ryan

Sir Thomas’s Bridge, Ferryhouse, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary.
Photo: Jamie Ryan

Jamie describes Sir Thomas’s Bridge as:

My favourite bridge in town. Beautiful walkway in that area and you are always guaranteed peace and quiet. 

Sir Thomas’s Bridge has a long history. It is one of the oldest bridges over the River Suir, having been erected in 1690 by Sir Thomas Osborne to connect his estates on either side of the river.

Clonmel was ‘home’ to me for almost a decade from 1976-1985. Sir Thomas’s Bridge was the mid- point of many a walk or jog and I spent hours standing on the bridge watching the River Suir make its way towards Waterford City. Back then, I never imagined that I would end up marrying a man from Clonmel and that we would move down-river to Waterford and onwards to Tramore.

I just wonder, as I write this, how many people have stood on Sir Thomas’s Bridge since 1690 ( the year of the famous Battle of the Boyne) at key points in their lives ~ knowing what’s gone before but never for a moment foreseeing what it to come.


The Festival of Bridges runs until October 31st. If you would like to take part, please email your contribution to me at: jeantubridy@aol.com.




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