Leave your mark on the city’s built environment

Photo: Una Sinnott

Photo: Una Sinnott

Everything happens for a reason. Everything leaves a footprint in its wake.

Later this year, as you have have seen from our front page story this week, the new Salmon Weir Cycle and Pedestrian Bridge will finally get its name. For the guts of the last year, it has dominated its new location, adorned it with modernity. It has afforded people the time and space to enjoy a view that up until its arrival, would leave one in mortal danger from the passing buses and vehicles.

It is a beautiful structure and one that adds considerably to the experience of walking around the city. At the moment, it also adds as a convenient link between town and gown; forming part of the journey between the University of Galway and the city centre. It is to be hoped that the planned redevelopment of Nuns Island will add to this and enable physical as well as psychological interaction with the institution.

In the past, we have had many places, monuments, access routes named after people and deservedly so. Our football stadiums, our roads, our statues bear the names of people who did valiant things in the name of the place they came from.

We have honoured victims of injustice and through this we have shown ourselves to be remembering, and loyal and conscious that we are all just part of a passing troupe in the circus of time.

The last decade has afforded us all the opportunity to learn of their deeds and it has been a welcome legacy of that process. And so should this process.

Already, several names have been put forward as recipients of the honour of having such a key piece of infrastructure named after them. The naming in itself is the honour; but the real honour is that fifty years from now, or fifty days from now, people will ask who and why the honour was bestowed. It is in that learning that true legacies are made.

The names of Julia Morrissey, Humanity Dick, Myles Joyce are three such names, and I am sure there will be more. If you only do one thing in the coming weeks until the nomination process expires, discover for yourself why these people are nominated. Bear them the respect of asking of them, in the way that you are happy when someone asks after yourself.

Noble historians have put their names to the campaigns of all three, and the cause for each is compelling, and as I said, there will be more. You can add more names, you can play your part in this process, so that when a decision is made, at least you will have given cause for consideration.

If you think that this bridge should bear the name of someone or some group who have done the city a service; or whether they have espoused a cause, then contact the City Council and make your mark. I hope the process is accessible to all, and not just those who have access to matters online.

I am honoured every so often to help the city mayors select the recipients of their awards; and it is so humbling to see the work that is done by so many in this city every day on a voluntary basis. It is right to honour those who have made the place we live in; shaped it through standing up, raising their heads about the parapet, departing their comfort zones.

Respect the process and honour all whose names are mentioned. A century from now, our descendants will ask how and why we did it. Let the reasons be compelling and stand the test of time.


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