The Bridge of Tears
Muckish Mountain, Ireland
The Bridge of Tears Muckish Mountain Reviews
Commorating exile and loss Mar 04, 2008
On the R256 road about 6 miles south of Falcarragh, on the mountain road past Muckish that takes you to Glenveagh National Park, you will come to a small twin span bridge just before the road tops the pass. Next to the bridge is a stone carved in Gaelic in memory of all those who have passed by and of those who stopped and stayed.
For the past 150+ years Ireland exported its greatest asset - its people who had no choice if they wanted work, land, freedom or a future. Millions left, few ever returned. This stone, in a small and understated way recalls the local tradition whereby local people would accompany and emigrant up the road out of town as far as the bridge. The friends and family would halt and the person leaving would walk on up the hill and round the bend. If they could keep walking till they rounded that corner and went over the ridge they were ready to leave. Many stopped to say a last prayer at the little Marian Shrine at the top of the pass before walking on into Letterkenny, the Lagan, Derry and the boat to 'Merikay'.
The story goes that the little stream of the river Ray that races under the bridge carried a million tears to the Atlantic for those loved and lost.
And today Ireland abounds with new people, visitors from all over the world seeking a future, a fortune or the chance of a start in life. Maybe each of them has left behind their little bridge of tears.
Part of the Road Trip - Donegal to Belfast travel blog
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