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. 





A Journey of a Different Kind ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 177

Today is the day I should have been heading off to New York for ten days to further my writing career. I’ve had to defer for various reasons and so will have to wait another while before soaking myself in a city that has long appealed to me, really since first seeing Woody Allen’s Manhattan.

I’ve been wanting to start looking through my late father’s massive collection of photographs ~ which span the years from the 1940s to the early 2000s ~ and somehow today seemed like the right day to begin that journey.

Having just looked through a few boxes, I feel as if I’ve been to the four corners of Ireland and also back and forth in both family and social history.

Father was from Co. Clare and always had a love of currachs ~ a special kind of rowing boat. John O’Donohue, the well-known Co.Clare poet referred to a currach in his beautiful poem Beannacht:

When the canvas frays
In the currach of thought
And a stain of ocean
Blackens beneath you,
May there come across the waters
A path of yellow moonlight
To bring you safely home.

I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised to find many photographs of currachs among Father’s photographs and the images strike me as being very far-removed from the New York that would have greeted me today.

Photo: Frank Tubridy
Currachs at Farmhouse
Photo: Frank Tubridy
Chatting by the Currachs Photo: Frank Tubridy
Chatting by the Currachs
Photo: Frank Tubridy
All Aboard!
Photo: Frank Tubridy
Currach at the Harbour Photo: Frank Tubridy
Currach at the Harbour
Photo: Frank Tubridy