Close to the village of Falcaragh is a stone bridge called “Bridge of Tears” (Bridge of Tears or Suffering in English, “Droichead na Caointe” in Gaelic). It was here in the 19th century that people from Donegal made their way to the United States, fleeing Ireland and the Great Famine. Families who stayed behind were able to witness the departure of their loved ones with the certainty that they would never see them again…
The Bridge of Tears, is accessible by passing near the village of Falcaragh. The stone bridge is still passable, and a commemorative plaque is located nearby to place the context and historical significance of the building.
A true symbol of the Great Famine and Irish emigration to the United States, the bridge was above all a source of sorrow and mourning. Indeed, it allowed Irish people wishing to leave for America, England or Australia to reach via this bridge, a path leading to the port of Derry.
Families would then accompany their loved ones on their way to the bridge, and then let them go away. This procession was often compared by the families as a funeral march: the families were certain that they would never see their loved ones again at the end of their march.
It must be said that living conditions in Ireland in the 19th century were particularly precarious: hunger and lack of means prevented them from joining their families who had already left for the United States.
This bridge was the sign of a firm and definitive separation, with no hope of ever finding each other again.
Please note that there is a car park nearby where you can park and take a closer look at the bridge. You will be able to admire all around the Muckish Mountain, but also the engraved stone plaque. It bears the following inscription (here translated into French :
“Friends and relatives of the future expatriates would come here. Here they would separate. This is the bridge of tears.