The Ha’penny Bridge, known later for a time as the Penny Ha’penny Bridge, and officially the Liffey Bridge, is a pedestrian bridge integrated in May 1816 over the River Liffey in Dublin, Ireland. Made of cast iron, the bridge was cast in Shropshire, England.
Initially called the Wellington Bridge (after the Dublin-born Duke of Wellington), the name of the bridge changed to Liffey Bridge. The Liffey Bridge remains the bridge’s main name to this day, although it is most commonly described as the Ha’penny Bridge.
Prior to the Ha’penny Bridge was built there were 7 ferries, operated by a William Walsh, across the Liffey. The ferries were in a bad condition and Walsh was informed that he needed to either fix them or build a bridge. Walsh picked the latter alternative and was granted the right to draw out a ha’penny toll from anybody crossing it for 100 years.
Initially the toll charge was based not on the cost of construction, however to match the charges imposed by the ferries it replaced. A more condition of building and construction was that, if the locals of Dublin discovered 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 (1 1/2 pence), but was ultimately dropped in 1919. While the toll was in operation, there were turnstiles at either end of the bridge.
The manufacture of the bridge was commissioned by the then Lord Mayor of Dublin, John Claudius Beresford with the Coalbrookdale Company of England. Utilizing ore originally mined in County Leitrim’s Sliabh an Iarainn, the bridge’s cast iron ribs were made in 18 sections and then delivered to Dublin. The style and erection was supervised by John Windsor, one of the company’s foremen and a pattern-maker.
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