The Ha'penny Bridge

September 30, 2014

claddagh ring blog, irish interest, dublin, ireland, Ha'penny bridge

Arguably the most famous bridge in Ireland.  The Ha'penny Bridge across the river Liffey in Dublin has certainly inspired many artists. I would say it is the most painted bridge in Ireland. Infact I have a painting of it in my own workshop. 

The 141 ft long pedestrian bridge made of cast iron was built in 1816.

Before the Ha'penny Bridge was built there were seven ferries, operated by a William Walsh, across the Liffey.

The ferries were in a bad condition and the government informed Walsh that he had to either fix them or build a bridge. Walsh chose the latter option and was granted the right to extract a ha'penny toll from anyone crossing it for 100 years.

 Initially the toll charge was based on the charges levied by the ferries it replaced. A further condition of construction was that, if the citizens of Dublin found the bridge and toll to be "objectionable" within its first year of operation, it was to be removed at no cost to the city.

The toll was increased for a time to a Penny Ha'penny (one and a half pence), but was eventually dropped in 1919. While the toll was in operation, there were turnstiles at either end of the bridge.

Today many sweathearts lock padlocks to the bridge. Typically the sweethearts' names or initials are inscribed on the padlock, and its key is thrown away to symbolise unbreakable love.

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