The River Corrib flows through the beautiful compact city of Galway under the numerous well-known bridges; Quincentennial, Salmon Weir Bridge and Wolfe Tone bridge. It serves as a beautiful attraction for tourists and locals as they walk down the canal ways and through the Claddagh and Spanish Arch. It serves as a place to dip our feet into on a hot day when the tide is high and quiet, but as captivating as it looks, it holds a high possibility of danger and a memory of past suffering.
If you take a walk down by the Spanish Arch and over the Wolfe Tone bridge, you will see multi-coloured ribbons tied to the cold railings, fluttering in the four seasons that Galway offers. A lot of tourists know nothing of the story behind those ribbons and speculate them as mere decorations, but the locals know the tragedies that lie behind those ribbons; they represent those who have lost their lives to the Corrib. The ribbons are often accompanied by pad locks of all shapes and sizes, both working hand in hand to pay tribute to the lost souls taken by the River Corrib.
There are rising worries as to what more safety measures can be put in place beside the fast-flowing river to prevent further catastrophic incidents. Safety measures are already in place during the weekend thanks to The Claddagh Watch Patrol volunteers; who patrol the waterways and make sure everyone is safe during the busy weekend nights when crowds increase. In my honest opinion, there is nothing more that can be done to protect society from the Corrib. When the tide is too high, barriers are put up around the Spanish Arch area to prevent people from getting too close, there are safety rings dotted along the path that the river flows and the Claddagh Watch Patrol do their bit to ensure public safety.
Perhaps, there are suggestions that are floating around just waiting for a life-ring to catch them and bring it to the surface. I asked a few of my close acquaintances what they thought about the River Corrib and safety measures and one idea caught my attention. One of my friends suggested that there could be more signs displaying mental health helpline numbers along the river, to let someone in distress know that there is someone to turn to in their time of need. In my opinion, mental health is still being overlooked, still interpreted by some as a temporary change of feeling, and that needs to stop. I think that it’s time we faced the facts; mental health is an illness, and the public should have the knowledge that that even though the river isn’t guarded twenty-four/seven that there is still an alternative security barrier in place when volunteers aren’t there to keep an eye on the designated water areas.
The river is deep and our worry may surpass the highest water level, but when society comes together to be there for one another in their time of need then that is bigger and stronger than any mountain high.