Roadside markers, Co. Wicklow, Ireland

Graveyards are great levellers. There rarely are posh parts and poor parts. A grave is a grave. Yes, the markers or the headstones might reflect the wealth of those interred or left behind. Some border on ostentation; others are plain and simple. Some are not always in cemeteries. Some are roadside markers.

Driving through the Sally Gap in Co. Wicklow, home of the Coronation Plantation, I spotted what looked like a headstone on the banks of the young River Liffey, close to its source. We stopped to read.

Mermorial stone by the banks of river that reads: In loving memory of our ma and da, Carmel and Austin Kileen. Picnic, skimming stones, and washing our feet. Memories at Sally Gap forever we'll keep"

It was all lovely. Nice thoughts. Nice people. Nice memories. Initial capitals aside, theirs was a happy family, a happy life.

And then, just beside it, on the bridge, was the second of two the roadside markers at Sean Kelly Bridge.

Plaque on a bridge with the inscription: In loving memory of Paddy Boy. Died tragically at this spot 10 June 2012. Aged 33 years. Rest in pace. Sadly missed by your oving wife Mary and Children. With a starue of the Sacred Heart on the right and one of OUr Lady on the left. Three bouquets of flowers sit on the bridge.

It was a car accident. The car hit the edge of the bridge and overturned. Paddy died at the scene.

One marks a series of happy memories. The other marks a tragedy that orphaned kids and widowed their mother.

Both sit facing an amazing view.

Chance. Fate. Opportunity. Whatever our lot in life and what we attribute it to, these pauses for thought help right the road ahead.


@ 2024 Mary Murphy