Festival of Bridges #17 ~ Spanning Lives

This final contribution to The Festival of Bridges brings me back home to Waterford, courtesy of  Clare Scott, who blogs with such talent at The Mermaid’s Purse.

This is what Clare sent:

I was racking my brain for bridges but out of thousands of photos none stood out ….. Then yesterday I was asked to drive some of my fellow art students out to the Red Iron Bridge on the Suir in Co. Waterford. The Red Iron Bridge is north of the City of Waterford and just south of the new bridge which takes traffic around the city. The bridge has been closed for years now, the tracks rotten and rusted.

The Red Iron Bridge, Waterford City, Ireland Photo: Clare Scott
 It is a bridge that has drawn the young people of Waterford (not a few art students among them) for more than a few generations and its position near the city but spanning the river at an unbuilt-up spot probably makes it one of the few ‘wilderness’ spots familiar to otherwise urban youth.
To get there you take a tiny, muddy path up from a narrow road, near where the old railway track crossed it on a small ivy covered bridge. A couple of minutes of twisting through bushes and trees and past low grey walls tagged with graffiti brings you onto the tracks. You are immediately aware of the swirling brown water below and the places where the tracks are rusty. It makes me very nervous. 
The last time I was here, ten years ago, I climbed out over the railings to by pass the fence blocking the track to make my way to sit atop one of the pillars legs dangling and nerves slightly jangled. This time I left the stunts to the the younger people. 
This bridge along with the city bridge is iconic to Waterford people I think for the river in Waterford has taken more more than a few lives, some accidental, many not, and more than one soul has ended up at the feet of the Red Iron.
Looking at these photos it makes me smile that no matter where  you photograph young people it always seems to look like an album cover.
The Red Iron Bridge, Waterford City, Ireland
The Red Iron Bridge, Waterford City, Ireland Photo: Clare Scott

I would like to thank all those who have taken part in The Festival of Bridges over the last two weeks or so. I truly appreciate your contributions and the time and effort which you devoted to them. 

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

23 thoughts on “Festival of Bridges #17 ~ Spanning Lives”

  1. I really enjoyed everyones contribution. I hadn’t a bridge anywhere to share with you, but I was intrigued by the variety of different posts on the same subject.

    1. Hi Tric, many thanks for your kind words.
      As a bridge-addict, I can’t imagine not having a bridge of some description. I challenge you to start looking out for them and you’ll see a whole new world!!!

    1. Oh Willow, thanks. I’ve really enjoyed it.
      Your reference to The Bridges of Waterford County makes me think of Madison County. I felt that I discovered the book as I read it early on when it was called ‘Love in Black and White.’ Ed’s photo, especially, made me think of it .

    1. Thanks Sandy. Hopefully, we can do it on a bigger scale next year.
      I can’t get the ‘album cover’ out of my mind since I saw Clare’s photo. Have plenty of old album covers here and the photo would fit in perfectly!

  2. I adore the ‘album cover’ photo! It is stunning and striking–wonderful work, Clare! Thanks, Jean, for a lovely series again, and for all your readers who contributed.

    1. Hi Sarah, yes, it’s a super photo. I’m not so sure I’d want my young person hanging out there but I would have loved it, I think, with the water sweeping along beneath. Being a mammy seems to change one somewhat!

  3. Great title for the final post of the festival, Jean 🙂 It’s been really interesting, to see the difference in structure and imagine all the historic/personal stories spanned by bridges! Where would we be without them?! 🙂 ❤ ❤

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