GET TO KNOW THE HISTORY OF HA’PENNY BRIDGE; THE FIRST DUBLIN BRIDGE
Ireland is a very old country with medieval histories and architecture influenced by the various invasions suffered over the centuries. Dublin reflects all this on its monuments and historical and tourist sites. Get to know the history of the Ha’penny Bridge, the first bridge in Dublin.
Originally called Wellington Bridge, it was built in May 1816 on the River Liffey. It was the first structure made for pedestrians to cross from side to side. Before, it was only possible to do this by means of rafts.
Before the construction of the bridge, there were seven ferries crossing the pedestrians. The ferries were in very poor condition and William Walsh, the operator of the system, was told to repair or build a bridge. Wisely, he chose the latter option. The construction of the bridge was then commissioned by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, John Claudius Beresford.
The name Wellington Bridge did not last long, and in 1922 was named as Liffey Bridge. However, the bridge stayed and is still very well-known like Ha’penny Bridge. The nickname originated in a curious way.
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With the construction of the bridge, people no longer used the rafts. So it was necessary to recover somehow the value that was not collected. In this way, half a penny was charged by the crossing. Half penny, meaning “half penny”, which became “ha’penny”. To this day this bridge is mentioned and recognized by that name, even if the toll to cross was extinguished in 1919.
In 2001, it was estimated that 27,000 pedestrians used the bridge daily to cross the River Liffey. Due to this, a structural analysis indicated that an urgent reform was needed. The bridge was closed for almost a year. In this reform, they returned to Ha’ppeny Bridge its original white color, which made it stand out among the gray shades of the city.
Some people also know the Ha’penny Bridge as a “white bridge”. One of the most beautiful among the seventeen scattered by the River Liffey. So beautiful, it attracts passionate couples who enjoy sunrise or sunset and lock padlocks on the iron frame to seal their eternal love.
In 2012, after a new evaluation of the structure, the City Council of Dublin removed several of these “love locks” from Ha’penny Bridge. There was over 300 kg eliminated, ensuring the safety of the bridge for a few more years.
Going daily through the Ha’penny Bridge is part of the routine of many Irish, as well as admire the sunrise or sunset. Want to experience this experience? Make an exchange in Ireland with SEDA College.