Light on water
Droichead an Ruachain
You are now beside a stone bridge in an area called ‘Ruachan’. ‘Rua’ means red in Gaelic and its use here is likely to be in reference to the rust coloured land which is stained by naturally occurring ochre. This can be seen clearly leeching into the local ditches and streams, from which it was easily extracted for use. Ochre was one of the simplest and earliest used dyes and in view of the place name it is likely that people would have taken it from this area. Imagine a warrior, his hair and face dyed in ochre entering battle. Perhaps Fionn mac Cumhaill himself stopped here to adorn himself with war paint before one of his epic struggles.
The bridge is regularly used by Dippers for nesting. Dippers are a medium-sized black bird with a white bib. The Dipper is more closely related to Blackbirds than other waterfowl, not what you might expect to see submerging itself in a stream. It thrives in fast flowing rivers where it dives to the bottom in order to feed on a range of aquatic invertebrates, which it catches by turning over stones and searching the river bed.