An Irishman's Diary
THE POETIC place-names of Ireland have a wide variety of origins, as noted here recently. But crossing Dublin’s Rialto Bridge the other day, I wondered if sarcasm was sometimes one of them.
According to the archives, this is an unusual example of a bridge giving its name to the surrounding area (Rialto itself), rather than vice versa, which would be the norm. The question, however, is (a) how did anybody ever see a resemblance between this bridge and the famous one in Venice? And (b) what were they on at the time? Even standing well back and scrunching your eyes up – as you might do when viewing an impressionist painting – doesn’t help much. Try as you may, you just cannot imagine a gondola passing underneath: although such a thing would be problematical, anyway, due to the complete absence beneath the bridge these days of water.