|In the Footsteps of St. Finbarre (Part 185) Beneath Rooves Bridge|
|Written by Staff Reporter|
|Thursday, 08 October 2009|
Page 1 of 2
On one trip on the road from Rooves Bridge to Farran, the levels of Inniscarra reservoir were low and there in the dried up mud lay more of the rivers secrets. Clambering down onto the reservoir bank, I walked across broken down field boundaries and encountered a broken down stone and concrete house. These ruins were created fifty years ago during the Lee Hydro Electric Scheme.
The ruins here mark the tragic side of the Lee Scheme, the submergence of someone's house, forcing them to move and start afresh. It was not the first time that I encountered the results of the Lee Scheme. In fact from my own journeys I seem to have ended up on the fence in terms of my view on the Scheme and its affects – there were many pros and cons and ultimately huge changes for over 75 per cent of the Lee Valley. The human side to the Scheme stretches from generating employment and ideas on how to harness the Lee to the human side of families rooted in the landscape who were moved so that the headraces of the Lee dams could be created.
On this occasion, staring at the ruins, the site was a bit more startling than usual. No vegetation had climbed over the ruins to the extent like one would see in The Gearagh or Carrigadrohid Reservoir. The low water levels revealed a clean space where the cement and stone blocks of a house had been bulldozed.
Memories are supposed to be made visible on the landscape resulting from people's commemorative decisions. Ruins also have a role in the production of memories in the landscape. Hence, there is a myriad of symbolic meanings attached to ruins. Ruins underline the importance of monuments such as Rooves Holy Well in anchoring the collective memories and identity of the community. Ruins are generally bound up with something ancient, sacred, soulful and purposeful – something motivating and ambitious. It's as if the ruins provide the landscape with a voice. Perhaps for the explorer, the ruins seem to create a landscape of living encounters and experiences.
To me I see ruins as a combination of being an artefact but also linked to being some kind of romantic and artistic footprint existing in the overgrowth of nature. Here near Rooves Bridge, the ruins to me were less on the romantic side and more on the sublime side where I thought the ruins I was seeing were coarse and fearful – a barb wire landscape.
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