“Some of the old bridges in Donoughmore are vanishing as they come to the end of their useful life. If only they could speak,” Donoughmore native Gerry Forde wrote.
The Bridges of Donoughmore offers photographs, histories and details on 71 bridges and surrounding areas.
Griffith’s valuation, a boundary and land valuation survey of Ireland completed in 1868, is one aspect touched upon in the book, and is something Gerry notes should be explored by people in ‘every townland’, a route for which is offered in ‘The Bridges of Donoughmore’.
“A townland, history and folklore project is one everyone should undertake before the stories are lost forever,” Gerry added.
The Blackwater river, its features and its history are also touched upon in the book, along with the river Lee as the Donoughmore rivers drain into these.
THE ‘TWO SHILLING HOUSES’
Another historical topic of note touched upon is the building of houses on riverside locations such as towns and villages, as the book discusses the cost of building the cheapest type of one room mud huts and the cost of growing an acre of potatoes in the late 1700s.
According to Gerry, much of this information on the ‘Two Shilling Houses’ comes from a book about Mitchelstown, in which Arthur Young wrote a ‘Tour in Ireland 1776’ detailing life on the Kingston Estate.
Speaking with The Avondhu, Gerry said that he had always had an interest in rivers and bridges.
“I come from a farming background and in my homeplace we spent a lot of time draining bogs and trying to control water,” he said.
As a member of the Donoughmore Historical Society, Gerry said that when Steph Bruchet made a ‘profound’ presentation of images of the parish, with no people in the images, to the society, it was this that inspired Gerry to do the same, but with bridges and rivers.
“I’ve been a student of history all my life, so I combined this information collected over the years with my research,” Gerry said.
A year and a half in the making and with the help of Inspire Design in Skibbereen, along with the patience of family and friends, The Bridges of Donoughmore is now available to purchase.
The book is retailing at €19.50 and is available to purchase in locally Fermoy Books, Hanley’s Newsagents in Fermoy, The Favourite in Mitchelstown, both Katie’s Newsagent and Philip’s Bookshop in Mallow and Costcutter in Dromahane.