15 June 2013

Love locks return to the Ha’penny Bridge

Love locks have returned to the Ha’penny Bridge, having been removed last year by Dublin City Council (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2013)

Patrick Comerford

After this morning’s Irish Times memorial service in the Unitarian Church on Saint Stephen’s Green, many of the people present went back to Callaghan’s Hotel, on the corner of Harcourt Street for coffee.

The humour inside and the sunshine outside helped to make it fell less like a wake, and it was good to meet old colleagues and friends. It is almost 11 years since I left the staff of The Irish Times, and while I have no regret and do not share the hankering others have for what they regard as the “good old days,” it good that we continue to care for each other and delight in each other’s company.

The sun was still shining an hour later, and two of us went for a stroll through South William Street and down through Temple Bar.

An enduring but impertinent question on the corner of Dame Lane and South Great George's Street this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2013)

I still had two book tokens that came as media prizes at the General Synod last month – but no longer!

I left Eason’s on O’Connell Street with three new books:

Tony Kevin’s Walking the Camino (London: Scribe, 2013 reprint) is an Australian writer’s account of the Spanish pilgrimage to Santiago which I have often thought of taking part in. Even if I never get round to walking the ‘Camino,’ here is an opportunity to do so vicariously over the next few weeks.

The Dorling and Kindersley Naples & the Amalfi Coast, in the Eyewitness Travel series, should be a useful travel companion next month.

And Blogging for Dummies could add bells and smells to these pages in the coming weeks – you have been warned.

Looking out on the Ha’penny Bridge from Wallace’s Taverna on Lower Ormond Quay this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2013)

We had a late lunch in Wallace’s Taverna on Lower Ormond Quay, looking out onto the River Liffey and the Ha’penny Bridge in the afternoon sunshine.

Last year, Dublin City Council removed a number of love locks from the bridge, citing a maintenance and damage risk. “This seems to have only started happening in the last few months and we're asking people not to do it,” a spokesperson for Dublin City Council said at the time.

But the love locks have returned, and are spread decoratively across the bridge.

There are many modern myths that seek to explain the origin of love lock, which started appearing on bridges throughout Europe in the early 2000s.

In Rome, love padlocks began to be fixed to the Ponte Milvio (Milvian Bridge) after the popular movie adaptation of Federico Moccia’s book I Want YouHo voglia di te (2006).

In Serbia, the love locks are associated with the Most Ljubavi, or the Bridge of Love, and the tradition is said to predate World War II.

But the most famous example of love locks must be on the Via Dell’Amore in Italy, on the pathway between Manarola and Riomaggiore in the Cinque Terre – a route I walked last summer. The pathway’s legend holds that it was a meeting place for lovers from the two towns, and it has become a favourite location for tourists to place their locks and throw the keys into the sea.

In London, love locks have been attached to various points along the fence on Tower Bridge. In Liverpool, a lot of locks have appeared on the Albert Docks, where a sign proclaims: “This is a special place for lovers! Interlock your padlocks on the railings and throw away the key into the Mersey. You will never lose your true love!”

However, there were more worries for tourists in the Albert Docks in Liverpool today, with 30 people on board a boat that sank this afternoon.

The Irish and Greek flags flying side-by-side on the quays in Dublin this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2013)

We strolled back through Temple Bar and Drury Street, and the sunshine continued to shine into the late afternoon.

Street art in Drury Street, near Grafton Street, Dublin, this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2013)


Jamie said...

Oh, don't change a thing! I love the blog! Enjoyed your book choices—I love travel-adventure commentaries (I enjoyed Robert Emmett Ginna's "The Irish Way" for example). I also own quite a collection of DK travel books, though not the one you mention. Would love to have an Italian trip looming! (I am a Frances Mayes fan.) Have fun! And blog about it! :)

Joe Houghton said...

You might also enjoy a film I caught last year called "The Way" about a father walking the Camino...