Social Media has its moments and yesterday certainly produced one for me. I was scrolling down my Twitter Timeline trying to avoid all the Christmassy stuff when lo and behold a link to footage of the rail line from Dungarvan to Waterford came into view ~ rather like you’d see a train arriving at a station.
The footage means the world to me because I spend half my life gazing at old railway bridges here in Co. Waterford and wondering what it was like when the train was running in its heyday. Well, I got this glorious glimpse into the past:
I was inspired by this, and the gorgeous crisp day, to make my way to Kilmacthomas which is one of the towns that was on the line which opened in 1878 and was finally closed, closed in 1990.
This eight-arch viaduct was designed by James Otway (1943-1906) and built by Smith Finlayson and Co. of Glasgow.
While I pine for the sound, smell and wonder of the train, it is brilliant that the old line is in the process of being re-opened as the Deise Greenway and many miles of it are already open. Here’s the view of the Greenway from the Kilmacthomas Viaduct back towards Dungarvan as I witnessed it yesterday evening:
The footage of the old railway from 1966 brought one of my favourite bridges in Waterford City alive ~ old Red Iron ~ and that warmed my heart more than I can describe:
Cappoquin is a small town in West Waterford. It’s a place I’ve been passing through for years and one of its loveliest features, for me, is The Red Bridge.
The bridge was opened in 1878 and was part of a vital railway network that connected Cork to Waterford and onwards to Rosslare in Co. Wexford.
The railway line was closed in 1967 and the last train passed over The Red Bridge in early 1968, carrying with it the tracks as they were dismantled in its wake.
Every time I stand by the bridge, I think of those who were involved in building it and wonder about the experiences and thoughts of the many, many people who traversed the bridge as they journeyed along the tracks of life.
Droichead is the Irish word for’ bridge’ and I find it hard to believe that I never thought about this before as Droichead Atha or Drogheda, Co. Louth is the place where I spent my formative adolescent years.
Drogheda was a great place to grow up ~ just 30 minutes from Dublin, 3 miles from the sea and situated on the historic Boyne Estuary.
If I think Irishness and Drogheda, I am immediately brought back to Irish in school and Mother Magdelene. Nuns were never exactly ‘me’ but ‘ Magser’ was different. She was a really kind-hearted person with a terrific love of the Irish language. I still gaze in awe at the fact that I debated ‘as Gaeilge’ when I was in my last year in school. This was no ‘childish’ stuff’ but hard-hitting debates about economic and social policy. Magser had us well schooled in the vocabulary of ‘current affairs.’
I think she would have been delighted to k now that I became a regular at ‘Carberry’s’ Irish music sessions in Drogheda the year I left school ~ at the tender age of 17. Carberry’s was a pub at the bottom of Constitution Hill ~ arguably the steepest hill in Ireland, especially when it comes to learner drivers and dreaded hill starts. In many ways, Carberry’s was like an extension of Magser’s Irish classes as Mrs Carberry would call for’ cuinus’ (quiet) especially when the singers were trying to be heard above the chatter and clatter of glasses.
So,’ Social Bridge’ has all sorts of connections buried deep in bridges and mentors of the past. Drogheda’s Viaduct , which I cycled under everyday on my way to and from school, will live in my memory forever as one of the most special bridges in the world.