Though labelled as "Reelan Bridge, Lifford, Co. Donegal" in the catalogue, after some initial location theories that were closer to Lifford, it was confirmed that we are a little further afield. Within a short space of time, both O Mac
and Niall McAuley
suggested a bridge over the Shallogan River ("An Sealgán"). Though still in Donegal, this puts us 60kms from Lifford and makes the hill in the background an Shalloganbeg ("Cnoc an tSealgáin Bhig"). The modern-day streetview topography
seemed pretty convincing, and the guys suggested that the photographer was standing close to where the 1890s Stranorlar and Glenties rail line
was just built, was being built, or was to be built.
Not satisfied with this, O Mac
actually went to Straboy. In doing so he not only confirmed the location, took a few "today" shots, and established a likely date range - but even settled the "what is the 'house' pictured" debate. As per his note below
, local knowledge suggests it was probably a hen coop. Kudos and thanks from us in Library Towers!
Photographer: Robert French
Collection: The Lawrence Photograph Collection
Date: ca. 1865-1914 (but likely no later than mid-1890s)
NLI Ref: L_CAB_04597
You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at catalogue.nli.ie
National Library of Ireland on The Commons
bridge henhouse countydonegal glassnegative robertfrench williamlawrence hencoop dryarch lawrencecollection reelanbridge