The Ha'penny Bridge

The Ha'penny Bridge was built in 1816 by William Walsh to replace his ferry that used to cross the Liffey at Liffey Street. He was allowed to charge a toll of a halfpenny for 100 years to repay him for building the bridge. It has become one of the symbols of Dublin.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

The Ha’penny Bridge

One of the images you can often see on postcards from Dublin is the Ha’penny Bridge or ‘Droichead na Leathphingine’ in Irish. It has become one of the symbols of Dublin.

Have you ever looked at it closely and studied its shape? It has a single arch, three lamps in the shape of lanterns on top of beautifully shaped arches resting on the sides of the bridge, and it is made from cast iron. In fact, it is the first metal bridge in Ireland that we know of and it was made in England.

It is also one of the few footbridges across the Liffey which means that no cars or trucks can cross it.

It was built in 1816 by William Walsh to replace his ferry that used to cross the Liffey at Liffey Street. To repay him from this, he was allowed to charge a toll of a halfpenny for hundred years. Since then the bridge, which was first called Wellington Bridge after the British Duke of Wellington, is known as Ha’penny Bridge.

The lease of the toll ended in 1916 and since then you can cross the bridge for free. Until recently one could still see the turnstiles where you had to pay the ha’penny. They were removed when the bridge was restored in 2001 and painted in its original colour.

I remember as a child I was scared to cross it because you could see the water through the wooden deck. Those gaps have been filled in since.

Comments

While the bridge is pedestrian only One Car did cross it, It was a bet and the car was a 1930 Austin 7 Ulster sports car driven by Dudley Colley.

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