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Bridge of Tears walk to honour emigrants of past centuries

Guided walk to the Bridge of Tears on Sunday, October 6

Connie Duffy

Reporter:

Connie Duffy

Email:

connie.duffy@donegaldemocrat.ie

Bridge of Tears walk to honour emigrants of past centuries

Join a guided walk to the Bridge of Tears on Sunday, October 6, in memory of those who were parted forever at this iconic landmark, when they left our shores to make a new life abroad.

The walk is part of Donegal Connect and is being led by the Donegal Sports Partnership (DSP), assisted by local volunteers from Falcarragh ParkRun. Michael Tunney of Donegal LEO – a lead partner in Donegal Connect - says the 7.5k walk will take you through the stark beauty of the mountainy roads behind Muckish Mountain.

It will be guided by Finola Wotton- a qualified Irish Heart Foundation walk leader and a DSP tutor.

“The walk will appeal to visitors and local people alike, and to all those who love the vast land, water and skyscapes of west Donegal, as well as those who love history,” says Michael. It starts with a short bus journey from the village of Falcarragh, he adds. "High viz vests will be provided but please wear suitable walking shoes and bring all-weather gear.”

“The Bridge of Tears represents so much of the sorrow and loss of emigration. In the 19th and early 20th century, local families would walk as far as this bridge with their loved ones who were emigrating. Most were leaving Donegal to escape famine and terrible poverty to seek a better in life in America or Canada.”

Michael reminds us that in those days “the chances of parents ever seeing their young again were almost non-existent. The journey from Donegal was too long, arduous and expensive. Added to that, there was the knowledge that many of those who took the journey never made it. They could be lost to sickness and disease on the ships transporting them in terrible conditions. So the parting here was final and there would have been many tears shed, hence the name The Bridge of Tears.”

This guided walk also aims to raise funds for the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, so tickets are €10 each. The KBRT aims to alleviate financial hardship for families repatriating the bodies of loved ones who have died abroad in sudden or tragic circumstances.

Walkers will meet at Ionad Naomh Fionnan from 11am. Registration at 11.30am and bus leaves shortly after to take walkers to the start of the route, and will return them to Ionad Naomh Fionnan afterwards.