The Bridge of Sorrows - Muckish Gap, Gweedore

These photographs were submitted by Hugh Doherty and form part of the Donegal Genealogy Resources Website


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Almost all of the Donegal Relief Fund Immigrants to Australia passed this way. People leaving the west side of Muckish Mountain and heading for the port at Derry needed to pass this way,  so thousands on their way to Australia and America would have walked over this bridge, and many of those left behind on one occasion were themselves farewelled at the same place a year or two later.


The name has come down through oral Irish folklore and in the local Falcarragh area it is known as "The Crying Bridge"; in Irish = Droichead Chaointe (Chaon = to cry) or Droichead na ndeor (na ndeor = tears). "The Bridge of Sorrows", is a more recent but acceptable translation for the bridge. Literal translations from Irish into English can frequently incur such distortions so you can imagine the difficulties experienced by the Ordnance Surveyors in the 1830s. It's hard to beat a bit of confusion!


The following photographs were kindly provided by Hugh Doherty of Lifford, who traveled to the bridge and surrounding area to help us.


To view at full size, just select the pictures below:




Looking up toward Muckish Mountain - Falcarragh is away to the left.



Looking down stream from the side of Muckish Mountain. Falcarragh is away to the right with the monument on the right (Falcarragh's side of the bridge).



The Monument which translates into:
"Friends and Relations of the person who was emigrating would come this far.
Here they separated. This is the Bridge of Tears"

Standing on the bridge with the road down to Falcarragh at our backs, and the memorial near our right hand, we watch our departing friends or relations moving up this road to the top of the gap. They turn and wave, we wave back, they take a couple more steps and are gone into another world. And then, with our sorrow and our tears, we return to our homes in Gweedore or Cloughaneely, while they pick up their steps going downhill from the gap, heading for the port of Derry.


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Lindel Buckley

Donegal Genealogy Resources