The word figary is part of Irish slang and basically means ‘a whim or a frolic.’ To even put it like that is to formalise it a bit too much.
Anyway, I had started this post by saying that: Yesterday, I took a figary and just had to see a a bridge in Ballyduff in West Waterford.’ I then realised that only people who are Irish would have a clue what I was talking about when it came to the figary bit and also that only Co. Waterford people would fully understand the notion of West Waterford.
Co. Waterford is very much divided in our minds between the East and the West. I guess that one of the reasons for this lies in the fact that East Waterford (where Waterford City and Tramore are) are close to the River Suir, whereas West Waterford is associated with the River Blackwater. West Waterford takes in towns like Dungarvan, Cappoquin and Lismore. It also takes in the little village of Ballyduff which has a bridge that’s a delight to the eye, especially of someone like me who is fanatical about bridges.
It’s about 55 miles from Tramore to Ballyduff and one could stop practically every quarter of a mile to explore fascinating places and objects. But Ballyduff’s bridge was firmly fixed in my mind and I certainly wasn’t disappointed when I got to walk along it, feel its texture, admire its views.
This is how it looked:
This iron bridge, over the River Blackwater, was built in 1887. It was designed by W.E. L’Estrange Duffin (1843-1925), who was Waterford County Engineer.
The bridge is very well maintained and here is the view up river towards Lismore:
Ballyduff village itself remains to be explored another day but I couldn’t but be fascinated by an impressive three-storey building which was built on a height in the mist on the left just across the bridge.
It transpires that the building was originally a Royal Irish Constabulary barracks which was built in 1869 and later used as the Garda Station in Ballyduff. Rural Garda Stations have been subject to closures over the last few decades and this Garda Station in Ballyduff was closed in 2013.
It’s sad to see rural Garda Stations like this one closing and I can’t but think of how all the comings and goings over the bridge between 1869 and 2013 were closely observed by various duty officers.
Ah yes, so much to explore in historic Co. Waterford!