Given that everyone who visits Dublin ends up taking a photo of this bridge, I think it’s a little bit unfair that people often describe it as not very spectacular, or just ‘nice’. The pretty little pedestrian bridge spanning the Liffey River between Temple Bar and the North Quays is simple, elegant and definitely more than just nice.
Built in 1816 it’s of arched cast iron painted white, with lamps to light it at night; that’s when many people come back to take their second or third photo of this Dublin icon. When it originally opened the Ha’penny Bridge replaced seven ferries and no-one minded paying the halfpenny fare to cross the bridge just as they had done to board the ferry. They didn’t even complain when the cost tripled to a penny and a half – changing the nickname of the bridge to the Penny Ha’Penny Bridge. Still no-one used its real name: the Wellington Bridge, named after the Duke of Wellington, just as no-one today uses its current name, the Liffey Bridge.
Over 20,000 people a day walk over it and until the year 2000 it was the only pedestrian bridge over the Liffey. Inevitably Dublin got on the bandwagon of building a Millenium Bridge but that’s not a patch for prettiness on the Ha’penny Bridge. A few years ago, the Ha’penny Bridge was renovated and checked for safety – the work was done by Harland and Wolff whose claim to fame is building the Titanic, but don’t worry, there are no icebergs on the Liffey.