Aghakista Bridge,Castletownbere, County Cork, Ireland

Within walking distance of Castletownbere is this little bridge. Once an active roadway it now leads to quiet forest with a gentle stream trickling nearby.

The bluish photograph above, was posted on a sign erected by the Beara Historical Society in 2005. It is an old picture showing the bridge as it looked a hundred years ago. The coloured photograph below it is the one I took to show how the bridge looks today.

The information on the sign reads as follows:

Aghakista Bridge

The Aghakista Bridge over the Kista stream, was part of the original route from Glengarriff to Castletown Berehaven. This ‘old road’ to the town preceded the present south road and the bridge was replaced by Brandy Hall Bridge downstream. Across the stream can be seen the remains of a 19th century tuck mill known locally as “Florry Kelly’s Mill”. Tuck mills were used to shrink woolen cloth by churning it in vats. Note rock cut to divert water from stream into the mill wheel. An example of much later industrial history can be seen in the water tank and pump used to pump water to the new creamery at Derrymihin West when it commenced operating in the 1930’s. The old schoolhouse at Brandy Hall Bridge closed in 1932 and the handball alley was built on the site.

This spot and the families who once lived here are celebrated in an old poem by D.F.MacCarthy of The Square, Castletownbere:

The Old Mill

By D.F.MacCarthy

There’s a dear little spot at the side of Clountreem

Where Foildarrig slopes down to the swift running stream,

Where the Powers and the Murphys, the Kellys and Sheas,

Drew their first breath of life and enjoyed their best days

When the Mill and the School stood within a stone’s throw,

And the seine boat and sand barge were anchored below

Where the green linnet warbled from furze bush all day,

And corncrake nightly was heard o’er the bay

Generations of Murphys, O’Sheas, Kellys and Powers,

Around the old carding mill spent many hours

While over the Bridge where the sea joined the stream,

The children got schooling and religion free

And west of the Bridge stood Tim Harrington’s cot

And Clarke’s modest mansion must not be forgot

Nor the Bridewell that never was built there for use,

‘Cept for pounding a donkey caught roaming loose

The school and the priest’s house, the Mill, Bridge and stream,

Have figured in many a fond exile’s dream

And where-ever they are, from Clountreem to Cathay,

A Power or a Murphy, a Kelly or a Shea,

Everlasting longs for the glad sight once more

Of the Mill and the school on that beautiful shore

And the graves of fond parents who rest on the hill

Set halos around Florry Kelly’s Mill.

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About Susanne Iles

Contemporary symbolist artist, writer,curator,and geek/nerd girl . Interested in photography, mythology, alchemy,ancient history,science,gaming and magic.
This entry was posted in Beara Peninsula, Castletown Berehaven, Castletownbere, County Cork, Historical Site, Ireland and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Aghakista Bridge,Castletownbere, County Cork, Ireland

  1. wcg says:

    Thanks for posting The Old Mill. It’s a beautiful poem, and it puts me in mind of my godfather, Pierce Powers, who was born at Brandyhall. He probably walked over that bridge as a boy.Bill

    • How old is your Godfather as I may have gone to school with him. The Lordans lived opposite his house, the first two for years that I passed walking home from school. July 23 2015. Sheila Sullivan Barule.

  2. h o donovan says:

    hi Bill. I am Helen Power of Brandy Hall. Are you my uncle? My father and grandfather were both called Eddie Power. My husband erected the sign with photo and poem at the bridge for the Beara Historical Society. Helen Power O’Donovan.

    • Helen, who is living in the old homestead now? Sheila Sullivan, Barule. I went to school with your brother Pierce. Living in California now with the last 21 years. USA. Love the poem and the plaque and photo! Great stuff altogether!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hi,Helen. I’m Laura Power Phillips I just happened to go on line to look up Brandy Hall and was shocked to see this website. My dad grew up in Brandy Hall we live in Michigan in the USA. His name is William Power and he had a brother Eddie you may be my cousin. He is 85 and has 2 sisters Mary and Kathleen and a brother Father Joseph. I sure hope you get this. Laura Power Phillips

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hi, Helen. I’m Laura Power Phillips from Michigan in the USA. My dad grew up in Brandy Hall thats how I happened upon this site. You might be my cousin my dad is 85 and has a brother Father Joseph and 2 sisters still in Ireland plus alot of others I don’t know. My dads name is William Power and he had a brother Eddie. I sure hope you get this. Laura Power Phillips

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hi Helen My name is Laura Power Phillips. I’m from the USA my dad was born in Brandy Hall 85 years ago. You may be my cousin. He had a brother Eddie. I sure hope you get this.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hi Laura, I am your first cousin still living in Castletownbere.My father Eddie Power always spoke very fondly of our Uncle Willie who lived in Michigan. keep in touch. Fond regards Helen

  7. h o donovan says:

    Hi Laura,Iam your first cousin Helen Power.Iam the youngest child of your uncle Eddie Power of brandy hall.Get in touch. Helen

  8. wcg says:

    Helen! Laura! I just came back to read this poem and found your comments.Laura, you spoke with my mother earlier this evening on the phone. I think we have contact established. But you’re always welcome to write to me. wcg (at) livejournal (dot) com will work.Helen, I am not your uncle, but I certainly am your cousin. Drop me a note at the address I listed in the paragraph above and I’ll explain how we’re related.Bill

  9. Chris Harrington says:

    I think this is the same bridge that was on the way to the old homeplace of my great-grandfather Tim (Tade) Harrington (Urdail) (not the Tim in the poem, I don’t think) that I got only a quick moment on video here: http://chrisharrington.wordpress.com/2012/08/12/harrington-urdail-home-in-clountreem-castletownbere-west-cork-ireland/ I enjoyed the post and the poem! thanks!

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