Festival of Bridges #7 ~ Bridges and Sighs

There are all sorts of bridges that make me sigh and I want to thank David Millington-Croft from the magnificent There is No Cavalry for mentioning the Bridge of Sighs in a comment at the start of this Festival of Bridges. 

Bridge of Sighs, Venice. www.artween.com

Bridge of Sighs, Venice.

I’ve spent most of the day thinking about bridges that make me sigh and also pondering on the word sigh. I’m taking it in a positive sense here ~ to mean bridges in a range of contexts that have touched my soul.  Here are my top five out of possible thousands!

#1 Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco ~ a bridge that won my heart in 1983 and is still carved there, especially when I see the sun rising.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco www.patricksmithphotgtraphy.com

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

 #2 Claude Monet’s painting of The Bridge at Argenteuil.  I associate this  very much with my late father and I was fortunate enough to see it in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC in November 2010, just eight weeks after father’s death.

The Bridge at Argenteuil www.cmonetgallery.com

The Bridge at Argenteuil

3# Senator George Mitchell who played such a key role  in negotiating the Peace Process in Northern Ireland. Having lived through the years of the Troubles in Northern Ireland which claimed the lives of over 3,000 people, I am eternally grateful that those terrible, terrible years are behind us.

Senator George Mitchell www.wesa.fm

Senator George Mitchell

#4 Jack B. Yeats’ painting  ‘The Liffey Swim.’  This painting has huge significance for me as it hangs in The National Gallery of Ireland, a place which I visited very, very regularly throughout the 15+ years I lived in Dublin.  When I was leaving Dublin I bought a copy of the painting which lives in my study here in Tramore. The bridge in the painting is Butt Bridge which I crossed regularly, especially during my junior tennis days when I was catching the train to and from Drogheda which was home then.

The Liffey Swim by Jack.B.Yeats www.nationalgallery.ie

The Liffey Swim
by Jack.B.Yeats

# ‘The Bridge Builder’ by Will Allen Drumgoole.  This poem reminds me of the many, many older people who have built bridges for me over the years. I would like to think that I thanked them sufficiently for their kindness but I know full well that I didn’t.


An old man going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide.
Through which was flowing a sullen tide
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.


“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way;
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build this bridge at evening tide?”


The builder lifted his old gray head;
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followed after me to-day
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been as naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”


 Will Allen Drumgoole



The Festival of Bridges continues until October 31 and I would love to hear about bridges that make YOU sigh. Please email me with your words, images, music at jeantubridy@aol.com. 


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Festival of Bridges #6 ~ Slave of the Bridge

This powerful contribution to The Festival of Bridges comes from Willow, whose enthralling blog can be found here.


Every night  she crosses the bridge betwix life  and death.

Carrying the  tormented souls that are of  hope bereft.

Her  shadow like its owner  empty and lost gently follows.

She looks  for life and love for she has none, her heart and soul are nothing  but hollow.


The moon looks on and gently weeps as she, her lonely vigil keeps.

Misery  and desperation are tangible in the air.

Colours  she craves colours, rest she craves rest and the warm of another  body

She craves colour and warmth and  above all sleep, this is  her life not her hobby.


Demon hands reach through the slats of the bridge searching for souls, they do not want  hers it is long gone!

They scratch at  her heels  they pull at  her ankles they hurt her but worse they hold her  back and drag her down so she never sees the sun!

Pour lost  soul there is no hope left  for her, nightly  she stumbles on alone tortured and held  by invisible rope.

Pray  for her, plead  for her as she in torment wails, she is condemned to this for eternity, no chance of escape for her, no hope.


The Festival of Bridges runs until October 31st and I would be delighted to receive a contribution from you. Simply email me on jeantubridy@aol.com. I look forward to hearing from you. 













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Festival of Bridges #5 ~ Bridge to a Better Life

This contribution to The Festival of Bridges comes from Sandy Penny, a woman I am fortunate have come to know over the last year or so through blogging. I love her way with words and her ability to bring us to unfamiliar places and make them feel like home. Sandy’s website can be found here

Bridge to a Better Life

There are so many ways I could talk about this bridge, but I want to keep it personal.

McKinley Bridge Crop

McKinley Bridge crossing the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri to Venice, Illinois

The McKinley Bridge stretches across the mighty Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri to Venice, Illinois. It connected my small town, Venice, with the huge Gateway to the West, St. Louis, where the famous St. Louis Arch was being built as I grew up.

I could see it going up, piece by piece from my second story bedroom window. But I lived across the river in a town of only about 5000 people, and my life was very different from those who lived in the big city.

I went to a small school, only about 500 students through all the grades, Kindergarten through grade 12. I had 28 students in my age-level class. But, we had a great school with lots of things small schools didn’t have back then. We had olympic style gymnastic training equipment, a brand new gymnasium, marble floors, a classical music room, a state of the art language lab, and some of the best teachers in the state. How could we afford all those wonderful perks?

McKinley Bridge belonged to Venice, and it was a toll bridge. All those tolls supported our little town, and most especially the school.

There are other things, like how we would climb the train trestles and dodge into the balconies as the trains roared by a few feet from where we stood. And how traffic had to stop on the bridge if a train needed to cross. And it was an electric bridge, so electric trolleys on rails could cross it too.

Such powerful impact on my childhood, and a bridge to a better life in so many ways. It’s now is disrepair, and has been turned into a bicycle bridge, and that’s still good work for an old bridge.


The Festival of Bridges is running until October 31st. Submissions are welcome in words, image, music about bridges, loosely defined, that have special meaning for you. Email your contributions to me at: jeantubridy@aol.com. I look forward to hearing from you. 

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Festival of Bridges #4 ~ Rooms with a View

Today’s heartfelt contribution to The Festival of Bridges comes from Joanne, who writes most eloquently about the way in which bridges have been a significant thread weaving through her life, which has strong Irish-American connections.   She has just bought a new apartment and her email starts with the role of a bridge in that regard:

What sold me on the place I’ve bought is the view.  I’ll have this unencumbered view of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge from my living room and bedroom windows of my new apartment, beginning next week.  And the Verrazano, which connects Brooklyn to Staten Island, will be celebrating its 50th birthday next month.

Living Room View

Living Room View

Funny, over the years, I’ve collected some artwork, mostly landscapes, and without deliberately setting out to do so, I’ve ended up with about six or seven paintings and prints of bridges, some famous and some not.

I have a print that my parents bought when they first married  here in New York City in 1934. It shows a stone bridge over a stream and a tiny cottage beyond. My mother told me they bought it because it reminded them of Ireland and they were both so homesick for Co. Kerry.

When I was very small, I used to gaze at this print and make up stories for my dolls about it – what was on the other side of the bridge, who we might meet, who lived in the cottage, where the rowboat would take us, etc.

A subconscious theme that has followed me throughout my life: What will happen if I cross that bridge?

Many thanks, Joanne, for a beautiful bridge-related insight into past and present and may you have happy, happy days in your new abode.

The Festival of Bridges runs until October 31st and I would be delighted if you would send YOUR contribution from wherever you are in the world. What’s your take on ‘bridges’ and which ones are significant in your life? 

Simply email me with words, images, music ….. to  jeantubridy@aol.com. I look forward to hearing from you. 

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Where are Blogs on the Pecking Order?

Copper Coast, Co. Waterford

Copper Coast, Co. Waterford

I’m getting the feeling that blogs are moving in from the wildest peripheries towards the core of the world of writing ~ from poor relation to ‘acceptable social animal.’

I say this because I seem to be hearing far more interviews with bloggers on mainstream topics, especially on radio.

Is anyone else out there feeling the same?  Or where do YOU see blogs in the grand scheme of writing?  What type of social animal are they at all? Please tell me what you think from where you’re sitting?

Annestown, Co. Waterford.

Annestown, Co. Waterford.

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Festival of Bridges #3 ~ Mystical

Andrea Stephenson’s blog Harvesting Hecate is one of my new finds of this year and it is a haven of peace, creativity and the most lyrical writing you can imagine.

Here is Andrea’s quirky and thought-provoking contribution to The Festival of Bridges. 

I see bridges as quite mystical, a kind of border from one world to another, with their own elemental guardians.  So, I was quite amused to see that this very small wooden bridge in one of our local parks, had its own set of sentries, guarding the way…



The Festival of Bridges runs until October 31st and I’d be delighted to feature your ‘take’ on bridges of any kind ~ be it through words, photographs, art, poetry …..

Simply email me at jeantubridy@aol.com with your contribution/s. 

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The Pumpkin Man

Hook Head Lighthouse, Co. Wexford

Hook Head Lighthouse, Co. Wexford

There are some sights that you just don’t expect in Ireland and a Pumpkin Man is one. But, yesterday on a visit to magnificent Hook Head Lighthouse in Co. Wexford, I met with Charles Colfer who grows pumpkins at Aldridge Farm in nearby Duncannon.

Charles Colfer

Charles Colfer

The pumpkins range from medium to giant and they were an absolute sight to behold ~ pure pumpkin!

This is Charles’ second year growing pumpkins and he now has a few acres devoted to them at Aldridge Farm. He imported the seeds from America but these are Wexford pumpkins through and through.

Blazing Pumpkins

Blazing Pumpkins

The seas were very wild and the trawlers moored at Duncannon Harbour drew my attention on the way home.  The two boats that immediately caught my eye were Wayfinder and Provider. What better words to describe the Pumpkin Man!

Duncannon Harbour, Co. Wexford.

Duncannon Harbour, Co. Wexford.

Should you wish to buy the best looking pumpkins in Ireland, get in touch with Charles Colfer on 086-8436362

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