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November 25, 2012 / landscapeiskingston

Dry Bridge, Clonmel, Tipperary: Community Artwork

4 bridges which connect the community of Old Bridge with Clonmel reopened in September 2012. The bridges  were rebuilt as part of the Clonmels Flood Relief Scheme.

The artwork for the glass balustrades erected on the re-constructed Dry Bridge takes as its starting point the concept of creating a ‘Memory Wall’.  The bridge’s glass panels present stories and key phrases associated with the River Suir, its location, history and its importance in our collective memory.  Etchings have been included on the glass parapets which reflect the path of the river from “Turn of Abbey” to Sir Thomas’s Bridge.  Also included in the etchings are river musings and experiences. The etchings were designed by local architect Kenneth Hennessy in conjunction with local community groups.

A key component of the Memory Wall is the selected stories or accounts written by members of the public during the Suir River Café held in the summer of 2011, as part of the Interreg Project ‘Waterways Forward’.  The Suir River Café was collaboration between South Tipperary County Council Heritage Office, Landscape Interface Studio (LIS) and local artist Lyn Mather.  It was a novel interactive Café where members of the public could observe, discuss, engage and participate in a number of outreach workshops.

These stories recall experiences and memories that people have of growing up beside the river, swimming and boating on the river and generally how they experienced the river in all its facets over the years.  An outline of the River Suir forms a backdrop against which experiences and key phrases are off-set.  A mirror image of the river has been used on the balustrades on either side, thereby creating the sense of being part of the River Suir as it flows through Clonmel.  The panels have been screen-printed with a variety of key phrases that relate to the river and its meaning to the wider community.  These describe the river’s flora and fauna, history, activities, industrial heritage and modern day interventions.

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