PICTURES: Dublin's Ha'penny Bridge turns 201

It was the first iron bridge in Ireland

PICTURES: Dublin's Ha'penny Bridge turns 201

A general view of Dublin's Ha'Penny Bridge in 2013 | Image: RollingNews.ie

On May 19th 1816, the Ha'penny Bridge was opened in Dublin.

The iron structure is synonymous with the capital, being the first pedestrian bridge to cross the River Liffey.

It was also the first iron bridge in Ireland. It has since appeared in photos and film alike across the world.

The bridge got its name as Dubliners originally had to pay a ha'penny to cross it - although its official title was the Liffey Bridge.

The Ha'penny Bridge in 1961 | Image: Dublin City Library and Archive/William Mooney

Before the bridge opened, humble ferries would bring passengers to each side of the city.

The ha'penny was the exact price of the then redundant ferry and was payable to William Walsh, ferry owner and alderman of the city.

He retired his ferries and was compensated with £3,000 and the bridge lease for 100 years, according to Bridges of Dublin.

People cross The Ha'penny Bridge in  1966 | Image: Dublin City Library and Archive

The bridge kept its prestigious status as the only pedestrian bridge to span the Liffey until the Millennium Bridge opened in 1999.

The Ha’penny Bridge has had its share of controversy, however.

In 1913, proposals were made to replace it with an art gallery designed by the famous architect Edward Lutyens at the request of Sir Hugh Lane.

The Ha'penny Bridge seen in  1972 | Image: Dublin City Library and Archive

The gallery would have spanned the river, similar to the Vasari Corridor in Florence.

But the then-Dublin Corporation did not have enough funds for the project, so it was turned down.

Riverdance lead dancers on the Ha'Penny Bridge in 2005 | Image: RollingNews.ie

The bridge has a 43 metre span, is three metres wide and rises three metres above the river.

Seen today in its original colour, in the past it has been black and silver - as well as being covered in advertising hoardings.

The Ha'Penny Bridge decorated in roses in 2011 for the Annual National Campaign for people with Autism, by The Irish Society for Autism | Image: RollingNews.ie

Dublin City Council undertook extensive refurbishment of the bridge in 2001, but kept 85% of the original railwork.

An estimated 30,000 pedestrians cross the bridge every day.

Love lockets on the Ha'penny Bridge in 2014 - these have since been removed | Image: RollingNews.ie

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