Friday, 24 June 2011

Ha'penny Bridge

Walk down Liffey Street Lower (Sráid Life Íocht) and you will see a white bridge at the end.  That's the Ha'penny Bridge.  It crosses the River Liffey which is the big river that runs through town that nobody ever goes boating or swims in.  You know how the water is really gross and disgusting at your local duck pond?  Yeah, it's like that.  Back when Ireland had the Pound for currency there was a half-penny coin, and it was called the "hay penny."

The story goes something like this:  In the early 1800's there was no bridge here.  If you wanted to cross you had to pay a ha'penny to William Walsh who would take you across in his ferry.  Well, he didn't maintain his boats very well and around 1815 the city of Dublin went to Mr. Walsh and said, "Look man, your boats are all derelict and rotten, and we don't think they are safe.  So you either buy new boats or build a bridge here."

Yer man Walsh decided to build a bridge, and the city allowed him to charge a ha'penny to cross, (the same price as a ferry ride previously.)  Thus, the Ha'Penny Bridge was constructed in 1816.  The toll was eventually dropped in 1919.

So, here is a little photo essay on what it's like to cross the Ha'penny Bridge in town.  By the way, the original color was white, as you see here.  It was apparently repainted many times, but the city had the bridge retrofitted for strength because it saw so much foot traffic, and they restored it to the original color.

From the north side at Lower Ormond Quay (quay is pronounced "key") the bridge goes south to Merchant's Arch and the entrance to Temple Bar.  That little arch you see in the last picture is a cobblestone tunnel.  It funnels traffic into Temple Bar, a famous area for pubs and night life.  Temple Bar gets a lot of tourists and there is a good police presence there, so I'm told it's a pretty safe area.

Thought-provoking quote of the day:

"We build too many walls and not enough bridges."
--Isaac Newton


  1. As lovely as the Ha'penny Bridge is, I don't trolls COULD live under it. The Liffey is *so* vile down that way

  2. Yeah, I notice the ducks won't even swim in it. They fly over and they're like, "Oh hell no" and they fly on to County Wicklow.