The artist behind the iconic ‘Third Bridge’ art installation on the Foyle Road was thrilled with its cameo appearance in the hit Channel 4 sitcom ‘Derry Girls’ earlier this year.
Noah Rose had further cause for celebration when he revisited the installation last week after it was confirmed Derry City and Strabane District Council have allocated funding for its maintenance.
Incredibly, it’s 13 years since ‘Third Bridge’ was put in place and, naturally enough, it was beginning to show some signs of wear and tear.
“It attracted a lot of graffitti. I think someone had set a fire under it at one point,” explained Mr. Rose.
“There was just general neglect. You often get that with any kind of public art. It’s that combination of it being well-used, well-seen, but not directly overlooked at night time. You would get youngsters going down and having a few drinks of an evening. That kind of thing.”
Mr. Rose said he was chuffed the council had agreed to spruce up the installation and equally delighted at the work’s unexpected recent appearance in ‘Derry Girls’.
“It was a really suprising treat because I didn’t actually know anything about the programme before it came out. I don’t even have a TV. I watched it on the Channel 4 catch-up and I thought it was great.
“Apart from everything else it’s a great show and very, very funny, and it was really nice to see the bridge being used as a back drop.”
Mr. Rose noted that while ‘Third Bridge’ dates from 10 years after the fictional heyday of ‘Derry Girls’ it perfectly suited the feel of the show.
“It feels true to the life those characters would have lived had the bridge been there at that time. I was delighted it brought a new audience to the work and to the city.”
Sinn Féin councillor, Patricia Logue, who has been lobbying for the renovation of the iconic work, said: “Back in May I first saw the state of this art work when a number of visitors to our city posted photos of their visit online. It looked in a bad state, so I went down myself to see what it was like and sadly it wasn’t looking too good with graffiti and rust. And was clearly in need of a makeover.”
She added: “I am pleased that work has now started and that council officials have also told me that there around 70 pieces of art work across the council area and they are looking at auditing them and putting them on a rota for quarterly maintenance check-ups.”
Mr. Rose said that when he created the work between 2003 and 2005 he had wanted to memorialise the industrial heritage of Derry’s railways while also viewing the River Foyle in a different way.
“I was interested in how you could re-approach the city from a new perspective if you viewed the Foyle, instead of as a dividing line or a barrier, as a form of connection.
“The river connects the whole of the island of Ireland to the rest of the world.”