the railroad trestle in Drogheda crosses the mouth of the Boyne River, a “great feat of 19th century engineering” as Louth Hospitality Ltd would like you to know. completed in 1855, it is 1,400ft long an comprises 18 arches with 60ft spans. as elsewhere in Europe, rail travel is rather big in Ireland (though I’d argue that Bus Eireann does an even better job of connecting locations; the train is just faster) and the completion of this railroad bridge made rail travel north from Dublin much easier. until the viaduct was built, passengers had to disembark in Drogheda and travel six miles (on their own) to meet up with the train again on the other side of the Boyne.
the importance of viaducts like this came into sharp relief while I was traveling. in the second week of my travels, the viaduct at Malahide (just north of Dublin) collapsed into the sea just after a train passed over it. the driver of the train noticed the problem and alerted appropriate authorities, who suspended operations before the bridge actually collapsed or resulted in real disaster. small consolation to those on board the train that nearly ended up in the sea, and even smaller for the regular commuters that use the line. officials were predicting that service on the line, which runs from Dublin to Belfast and transports some 20,000 passengers a day, would be disrupted for three months. around 90 trains pass over that bridge, some freight, but many carrying passengers.
when Katerina was getting ready to leave Drogheda, she was advised against taking the train from Drogheda to Dublin, as the bridge collapse at Malahide complicated things. (instead, take the bus to Dublin and the train across to Galway.)
here’s the Independent’s article on the bridge collapse (the title is the best bit: ‘My legs turned to jelly as I saw the bridge collapse’)