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Ha’penny Bridge


The Ha'penny Bridge, known later for a time as the Penny Ha'penny Bridge, is a pedestrian bridge built in 1816 over the River Liffey. Made of cast-iron, the bridge was cast at Coalbrookdale in Shropshire.

Originally called the Wellington Bridge (after the Duke of Wellington), the name of the bridge changed to Liffey Bridge. The Liffey Bridge remains the bridge's official name to this day - though it is still commonly known as the Ha'penny Bridge.

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 Walsh was informed 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, not on the cost of construction, but to match 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 the bridge.

In 2001 the number of pedestrians using the bridge on a daily basis was 27,000 and, given these traffic levels, a structural survey indicated that renovation was required. The bridge was closed for repair and renovations between 2001 and 2003 and was reopened sporting its original white colour. The structure was rebuilt to retain as many of its old components as possible.

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