Tuesday, September 26, 2017

New Footbridge on the Arigna River Unveiled

New Footbridge on the Arigna River Unveiled.

aunch of the New Footbridge on the Miners Way Walking Route

New Footbridge on the Arigna River Unveiled

On a cold November 26th, walkers and locals alike gathered along the banks of the Arigna river for the official unveiling of a new footbridge which links the Sligo section of the Miners Way and Historical Trail with Roscommon. The bridge which is over 30 feet long replaces an older one swept away during the unprecedented rainfall and landslides floods of August 2008. The new bridge was funded by the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs with the work on the bridge been completed by Sligo LEADER Partnership Rural Social Scheme staff.

Dedicated to Fr Sean Tynan the ribbon was cut by three of his siblings. Fr. Sean was Parish Priest of Kilronan parish for many years during the establishment of the Miner’s Way Walking Trail. Following the closure of the Arigna Mines he dedicated much of his time to promoting the idea, talking to landowners about rights of way and fighting for its funding. Speaker after speaker confirmed that Fr Sean did not shy away from the physical spadework either. Patsy Daly remembered the sounds of a strimmer echoing in the valley during the long summer evenings as Fr Sean kept the trails clear of briars and weeds. Peter McNiff related his “expedition” along, and sometimes through, the Arigna River getting “wet to the skin” as the redoubtable Padre sought a way to link two separate sections of the walk. And Councillor Gerard Mullaney recalled Fr Sean in his kitchen in Highwood and the table spread with ordinance survey maps of the Moytura Plain. When his wife asked if they were alright, Fr Sean came back “if we were, we wouldn’t be here”. All agreed that the bridge was a fitting tribute to his legacy. Fr. Sean’s siblings addressed the gathering of about fifty persons and thanked them for having come out in the cold weather to honour their brother. Sean, they informed the crowd, was now in very poor health and on his behalf they acknowledged the kind words and images that had been relayed by the earlier speakers.
Sligo LEADER Partnership’s Rural Recreation Officer Deirdre Kennedy paid to tribute to the hard work on the Rural Social Scheme and explained that without the support of Coillte and the local landowners none of it would have been possible. The launch of the bridge is been carried out to coincide with the roll out of the walks scheme on the Miners Way and Historical Trail. The walks scheme is currently in operation on the Sligo Way. Deirdre also expressed her thanks to CLASP who kindly supplied a bus service to take people up to the launch.

Following light refreshments and a further chat the crowd dispersed along the Miner’s Way, some heading north to Oswald Lynch’s; others south towards Glen church. And just in time, as the first snow flurries of the winter came belting in on a hard north wind.

For further details on this and other walks in Sligo contact Rural Recreation Officer Deirdre Kennedy on 071 9141138.