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Missing Link found in Donegal

Bing Crosby. Dorothy Lamour, and Bob Hope starred in a number of films made in the 1950s with titles such as "The Road to Morocco", "The Road to Singapore", and "The Road to Rio".

They were light hearted Hollywood musicals, entertainment for the masses in a genre that British film makers sought to emulate, but never mastered the knack.

All kinds of dipsy-doodle adventures lay in the paths of the trio as they sang and danced their way to the various exotic locales mentioned in the titles.

Sadly, so very sadly, there is no such happiness associated with the latest news about the now famous, some say infamous, plans to build a by-pass road, more properly called a through-pass road which will sever the town of Ballyshannon, its inhabitants, and businesses into separate sections.

Allingham Bridge across what was once the salmon rich Erne River joins the northern and southern parts of the town. The planned by-pass, through-pass, will separate, not join, the areas of Ballyshannon through which it will be driven. And at what a cost!

The original estimate of slightly more than 30 million euros has already ballooned to 70 million euros, and the start of construction has been pushed back because the government doesn't have the cash to pay for it.

"Thirty million, forty million, fifty million. Do I hear sixty million? Sixty million over here. Sixty-five million. Sixty-five million. Seventy million. Seventy million. Any advance on seventy million? At seventy million, going once, going twice . Sold to the highest bidder at seventy million euros!"

But this isn't what was advertised. The original package included a link from the Donegal Road to the Rossnowlagh Road.

"Sorry, sir, but that was only a pious wish. We can't have links added on all over the place. Where would it end?

"Just think of the tourists. Come to Donegal and see Ireland's own genuine missing link!"

But there's no link to show them.

"Quite right, sir. You see, it's missing. And they can tell their friends back home that they actually saw it was missing!"

Do you seriously mean you would make people travel to see something that isn't there so they could boast that they saw it wasn't there?

"Now you're getting the hang of it, sir."

"Next lot, Jim. Ladies and gentlemen, lot number 123--a fairy bridge. Details in your catalogues."

Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And white owl's feather!

Down along the rocky shore
Some make their home,
They live on crispy pancakes
Of yellow tide-foam;
Some in the reeds
Of the black mountain lake,
With frogs for their watch-dogs,
All night awake.

High on the hill-top
The old King sits;
He is now so old and gray
He 's nigh lost his wits.
With a bridge of white mist
Columbkill he crosses,
On his stately journeys
From Slieveleague to Rosses;
Or going up with music
On cold starry nights
To sup with the Queen
Of the gay Northern Lights.

They stole little Bridget
For seven years long;
When she came down again
Her friends were all gone.
They took her lightly back,
Between the night and morrow,
They thought that she was fast asleep,
But she was dead with sorrow.
They have kept her ever since
Deep within the lake,
On a bed of flag-leaves,
Watching till she wake.

By the craggy hill-side,
Through the mosses bare,
They have planted thorn-trees
For pleasure here and there.
If any man so daring
As dig them up in spite,
He shall find their sharpest thorns
In his bed at night.

Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And white owl's feather!

"This is the original, the one and only fairy bridge of white mist that William Allingham wrote about. Do I hear any offers? You, sir?

I don't see any bridge!

"Of course you don't, sir. You're in Donegal! What did you expect?"

"Jim, throw that man out! He's caused enough trouble for one day."

Readers will find more of Allingham's poems on this web site at poetry.

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