Further to last week’s item about naming the new bridge that opened this week, suggestions have been pouring into the office from readers. One thing seems certain and that is that most people would like to see the new bridge named something rather than leaving it ‘orphaned’.

Local businessman and writer, Anthony Brophy, suggests ‘The Harp in the Air Bridge’ in memory of William Vincent Wallace’s beautiful melody from Maritana and because he thinks the bridge is not unlike a harp.

Michael Griffin from Slieverue suggests ‘The Parva Roma Bridge’. Michael points out that Waterford city was often referred to as Parva Roma (Little Rome) by 16th century visitors and sailors. The first to refer to Waterford as Parva Roma was said to be Cardinal Rinucini (of Confederacy of Kilkenny fame) who claimed the hills in Waterford city reminded him of the seven hills of Rome. According to Michael, Waterford was also referred to as Porto Bella in the olden days and he thinks ‘The Porto Bella Bridge’ has a nice ring to it. Certainly, an old area of Ferrybank was known as Belle Vue for many generations until the builders of the new port changed its spelling to Belview.

Owen Davin from Ferrybank gives The Gateway Bridge as his first choice, Pat Kearns from South Kilkenny suggests The Setting Sun or The Blaas and Stripes Bridge while the Socialist Workers Party has called for the new bridge to be named in honour of Dr Noel Browne, the Waterford born Minister for Health who all but banished the scourge of TB from Ireland. Other suggestions include The Hucklebuck Bridge and The Crystal Bridge.

One of the most comprehensive and interesting lists of names came from Frank Walsh in Dunmore East but, because they are heavily weighed in favour of Waterford associated names, agreement would be unlikely. Interesting though were suggestions such as The Boyle-Walton Bridge (after Waterford’s two most famous scientists), the Quaker Bridge in memory of all the famous Quaker entrepreneurs in the area and the most obvious of all, The Bilberry-Grannagh Bridge. Elizabeth Browne from Mooncoin believes the name ‘An Droichead Greine’ – ‘The Sunny Bridge’ would please everybody and she could be right.

Mixed reaction to

Knock ‘apparition’

Over 9,000 people turned up at the Marian Shrine in Knock last Sunday week hoping to see a new apparition of the Blessed Virgin. Queues of traffic were backed up at least a mile down every route into the town. And it was all because a Dublin clairvoyant, Joe Coleman, predicted that an apparition would occur at 3pm that day.

According to the reports, there were at least 5,000 people inside the Basilica and as many more outside as 3pm approached and most of them had camcorders, cameras and mobile phones on the go.

Reaction to what occurred, or didn’t occur, was as varied as the crowd itself. Most people said they were disappointed that they saw nothing but were still respectful of the occasion but other comments were more polarised. One woman said she definitely saw the Virgin holding a rose dressed in a blue gown and wearing a white veil. Others said they saw the sun dancing in the sky and changing colour and that the outline of a figure was clearly visible within the kaleidoscope.

But one downcast person described the occasion as like turning up to a football match that had no teams to compete. And a couple from Kildare said they had laughed all the way up to Knock and they would be laughing all the way home but, for all that, they still lit a candle in the Basilica.

Cllr Michael Healy Rae

on drink driving

Well-known politician and television personality, Councillor Michael Healy Rae, claimed last week the most sensible and effective way of applying drink driving laws was to give local gardai discretion on whether or not to pursue prosecutions.

Councillor Healy Rae made his remarks in Killarney while addressing a conference on drug and alcohol abuse. He said he was not promoting drinking and driving and he was not saying it was all right to break the law. But there was another side to the drink-driving debate and there was a case to be made in its favour.

Referring to the proposed new alcohol limits for drivers, the former Chairman of Kerry County Council said society had ‘lost the plot’. He said rural people, especially single males, were already being made prisoners in their own homes because they were terrified to drive their cars if they had consumed a couple of drinks. Councillor Healy Rae said, over the years, he had regularly seen such people engage in what he referred to as ‘measured drinking’ and they got into their cars and drove carefully home at the end of each night without ever having or causing an accident.

Calling for the implementation of a system in which local gardai could use their discretion, Councillor Healy Rae said the only fair way to legislate would be to allow a lot of the decisions to be taken at the side of the road by the garda or gardai directly involved with the motorist.

Horse trade in dire straits

The present dire state of the horse trade was illustrated vividly at the recent Galbally Fair in County Limerick that always attracts a good attendance from Waterford. Even though crowds were up, business was very slow at the Fair that is very similar to the Tallow and Ballinasloe events.

Sellers struggled to get even half the asking price for their horses and, in a bizarre twist, a pair of Jack Russell pups were sold for €110 each which was more than some of the bloodstock fetched. One man from Dromkeen, which is between Tipperary Town and Limerick City, went away disappointed having failed to secure a buyer for his animal after experiencing a similar fate in Ballinasloe. The only exception were the Connemara Ponies for which there was a lively demand.

Big publicity coup for

The Saw Doctors

The Saw Doctors have pulled off a bit of a coup in publicising their soon to be released album, ‘Best of the Saw Doctors’.

Readers will recall that one of the most iconic photographs in the world is the shot taken by Charles Ebbets in 1932 when he captured eleven construction workers, employed on the building of New York’s Rockefeller Centre, eating their lunch while sitting on a steel girder jutting out into the sky 70 storeys up. He titled his photograph ‘Lunch atop a Skyscraper’ and, even today, it hangs in thousands of pubs and restaurants around the world.

The band thought it would be a good idea to replicate the photograph for the cover of their album with themselves sitting on the girder in the places and poses adopted by the original workmen. They tracked down the daughter of the late Charles Ebbets in the United States and, following some correspondence, she agreed to allow the band to alter her father’s work. It then turned out that two of the original workmen sitting on the girder, Matty O’Shaughnessy and Patrick ‘Sonny’ Glynn, were from Shanaglish near Gort so they have retained their perch only this time with The Saw Doctors.

Incidentally, in the original photograph, several of the men were either reading or holding newspapers and, if you look closely at The Saw Doctors’ cover, you will see that the newspapers they are holding this time are copies of The Tuam Herald, the band’s home town weekly.

A worried patient

A male patient was lying in bed in Waterford Regional Hospital last week. He was wearing an oxygen mask over his mouth and nose and was still heavily sedated after surgery. The matron noticed that he was sweating profusely and instructed a female student nurse to sponge down the top half of his body.

“Relax Tommy, you’ll be cooler in a minute or two and you’ll feel much better”, said the nurse soothingly as she mopped her patient’s brow.

“Nurse”, he mumbled through the oxygen mask, “are my testicles black?”

“Tommy, I can’t answer that”, said the young nurse, “I’m only here to sponge down your upper body.”

“Please nurse, I’m very anxious to know, are my testicles black”, moaned Tommy through his mask.

The nurse, anxious to calm her patient, checked that the curtains were fully drawn around the bed before lifting the sheets to look at Tommy’s private parts. She could see nothing untoward so she lifted up his willy to check it out underneath and did the same with his testicles. Placing the sheets back in place, she said: “Tommy, you have absolutely nothing to worry about, your testicles aren’t black at all, they’re grand and perfectly normal.”

This time Tommy pulled the oxygen mask away from his mouth so that she could hear him more clearly.

“Nurse”, he said, smiling weakly, “thank you so much, you are a very kind and generous young woman. But please, listen to me carefully, are – my – test- results – back?”