As I said in a previous post, Dublin is bisected by the River Liffey. As a result, there are a LOT of bridges.
The oldest seems to be the Queen Maeve Bridge (also known as the Mellows Bridge), which was completed in 1768. It is named after Queen Maeve of Connaught, that most temperamental and fiery lady who invaded Ulster because she wanted to capture the brown bull of Cooley (see The Cattle Raid of Cooley) and generally caused all manner of havoc. This bridge replaced the even earlier Bridewell Bridge, dating back to 1683, which was swept away in a flood in 1763. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo of it, but you can click here to see a nice pic.
Here are some photos we took of the bridges we encountered in our exploration of Dublin, sorted from east to west.
Sean O’Casey Bridge
The Sean O’Casey Bridge (built in 2005) is a pedestrian bridge, linking Custom House Quay (north) with City Quay (south). It is named after the Dublin playwright Sean O’Casey [1880-1964]). It is constructed in two cantilevered sections, which swing through 90 degrees in order to allow ships to pass. It forms part of an urban renewal scheme in the Dublin docklands.
Talbot Memorial Bridge
The Talbot Memorial Bridge (built in 1978) is a road bridge, also linking Custom House Quay and City Quay. It is named after Matt Talbot, a temperance campaigner from Dublin’s Northside. A statue of him is at the south end of the bridge.
The O’Connell Bridge (completed in 1798) is a road bridge joining O’Connell Street (north) with D’Olier Street (south). It was originally named Carlisle Bridge after the then Viceroy, Lord Carlisle. The bridge had been designed by James Gandon who designed many of the older buildings in Dublin, including the Custom House, the Four Courts, and the King’s Inns. It was widened in 1880 – and is unique in Europe for being the only traffic bridge that is as wide as it is long (Wikipedia). In 1882, it was renamed after Daniel O’Connell, whose statue stands at the start of O’Connell Street.
I just came across this funny snippet of information about the O’Connell Bridge: In 2004, two brothers secretly installed a commemorative plaque on this bridge, with the following text:
“This plaque commemorates Fr. Pat Noise advisor to Peadar Clancey. He died under suspicious circumstances when his carriage plunged into the Liffey on August 10th 1919. Erected by the HSTI.” (see Wikipedia)
I found a photo of the plaque:
“The plaque was laid in a depression left by the removal of the control box for the “Millennium Countdown” clock installed in the waters of the Liffey in March 1996 as a countdown to the Year 2000. The clock and control box were removed in December 1996 after persistent technical and visibility problems.” (Wikipedia) (Here, by the way, is a funny article about the Millennium Countdown clock mentioned above: Irish Independent)
Apparently, no one noticed the plaque until it came to the attention of the Dublin City Council in May 2006. They scrambled around for a bit, trying to locate records of such an individual, of the plaque, or the events mentioned, but couldn’t.
The two brothers subsequently admitted that it had been a hoax, and claimed that the work was a tribute to their father – with the name ‘Father Pat Noise’ being a play on ‘Pater Noster’ (Latin for ‘Our Father’). Both the Catholic priest Father Pat Noise and the HSTI are fictitious. The name Peadar Clancey, however, is apparently a misspelling of the name Peadar Clancy, an Irish Republic Army officer killed on Bloody Sunday, 1920.
The City Council advised that they were going to remove the plaque, but at a meeting in December 2006 it was decided to leave it in place. In May 2007, some engineers from the City Council tried to remove the plaque, but they were stopped by one of the City Councillors who insisted that the agreement in Council was still valid.
I haven’t been able to find out whether the plaque is still in situ. If I’d known about it before our visit to Dublin, I would have put it on our long Must-See List. If anyone knows whether it’s still there, please tell me! 🙂
The Ha’Penny Bridge (built in 1816) is a cast-iron pedestrian bridge, linking Liffey Street Lower (north) to Merchant’s Arch (south), in the famous Temple Bar area of Dublin.
It was originally called the Wellington Bridge after the Duke oF Wellington. Before this bridge was built, one WIlliam Wals was operating seven ferries across the Liffey in this area. He was told by the authorities of the time that he either had to repair his ferries, which were in a bad state, or build a bridge. In return for the latter, he was allowed to extract a toll of a ha’penny from all who crossed over it for one hundred years (!). The toll was dropped in 1919, just over 100 years later, but the name has stuck. The bridge was recently repaired and restored to its former glory.
In the first picture of the Ha’penny bridge, you can see the Boardwalk on the left hand side. This was constructed as one of the Millennium projects to celebrate that Dublin was 1000 years old (Wow… I find that so incredible! We definitely don’t have cities that old in South Africa or Namibia…). It’s a street-level promenade that is partly suspended above the river, and there are wooden benches where you can sit.
The Millennium Bridge (built in 2000) is a pedestrian bridge, joining to Ormond Quay (north) to Eustace Street in Temple Bar (south).
“Installed in December 1999 to commemorate the new millennium (2000), the span was actually constructed 80 km from Dublin – in Carlow – as a portal frame structure made up of a slender steel truss and resting on reinforced concrete haunches.” Wikpedia
Grattan Bridge (built in 1874) is a road bridge that joins Capel Street (north) to Parliament Street (south). It is named after Henry Grattan MP (1746-1820).
“The current bridge has been widened with cast iron supports extended out from the stonework so as to carry wide pavements on either side of the roadway. The bridge is lit by ornate lamp standards also in cast iron.” (Reference)
“In 2003/2004 the Dublin City Council planned and built what was intended to be a “European-style book market” on Grattan Bridge. The initiative included reconstruction of the bridge deck, with granite paving for the footpaths and a set of benches with wooden seats and toughened glass backs.
Following this development, several temporary kiosks (prefabricated in Spain) were controversially built on the bridge, to create “a contemporary version of an inhabited bridge, such as the Ponte Vecchio in Florence.” These kiosks have since been removed.” (Wikipedia)
My personal favourite, though, is the beautiful cast-iron Heuston Bridge, built in 1828 and now carrying light rail and foot traffic. It is near Heuston Station and joins Wolfe Tone Quay (north) to Victoria Quay (south).
“Now virtually unused since the opening of a new bridge beside it to cope with the heavy traffic, Heuston Bridge was opened in 1828 and named King’s Bridge after George IV. Originally nearby Heuston Railway Station was also named Kingsbridge – but both were renamed in honour of Sean Heuston who was one of the sixteen executed leaders of the Easter 1916 Rising. The bridge is of iron construction supported by two granite piers and was designed by George Papworth who also designed several banks in Dublin.” (Reference)
Here’s a very useful list of all the bridges and tunnels of Dublin, ordered sequentially from the mouth of the river upstream: Dublin bridges and tunnels