Bridge of Portumna, The


The town of Portumna in County Galway was a port of call for my father, Mick Connolly, when he worked on the River Shannon. During school holidays I often sailed with my Dad up and down the river and I always looked forward to docking in Portumna after the twenty-five mile trip on Lough Derg.

The bridge spanning the Shannon at Portumna always held a fascination for me, particularly when it was raised to let larger boats sail underneath. I loved to swim in the clear waters of the Shannon, and diving from the high bridge of Portumna was always a test of nerves and possibly a way of being a 'show off'. During one of my crazy show-off dives I twisted my back and though I lived to tell the tale, I carry a souvenir of that dive to this day!

I wonder if my good friend, accordionist and composer Martin Mulhaire, ever jumped or swam near the bridge. However, I do know that he composed this grand reel, which is masterfully played here by Liz Carroll on her fiddle.


Séamus Connolly
Boston College Libraries

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Carroll, Liz (fiddle) and Mulhaire, Martin (composer), “The Bridge of Portumna,” The Séamus Connolly Collection of Irish Music, accessed July 17, 2024,