Walking the streets with no rain!

I had the honour of joining a walking tour of ‘Walking the Bridges of Dublin, hosted by one of my wonderful Toyboys, Anthony Mc Guinness. Anto and Dublin City Council are responsible for the Bridges of Dublin The website is all down to Anto and the time, energy, research and love for the subject in the project came through loud and clear during our tour on Saturday night.

The River Liffey rises close to Kippure in the Wicklow mountains. It flows for around 125 km (78 m) from source to sea through counties Wicklow, Kildare and Dublin before entering the Irish Sea at the midpoint of Dublin Bay. There are in total 24 bridges that cross the river.

Our walk covered fifteen, with added information of those we did not see.

We gathered at Rory O’More Bridge, often referred to as Watling Street Bridge. Building began in 1859 and it was declared open to the public in 1861 and crosses the River Liffey from Watling Street, on the south side to Ellis Street to the north side of the city. It is in fact the fourth, or possibly fifth, bridge at this location since records began. Dates of two of the previous structures: 1670 & 1704.

Rory O’More Bridge

Rory O’More Bridge

When a bridge was first built on this site, it was a wooden structure, much needed by a growing city only served by a single bridge and it often in a state of dilapidation. In the photo below you can actually see a line of wooden stumps from former wooden foundations.

Wooden foundations at Rory O’More Bridge

Wooden foundations at Rory O’More Bridge

A single span bridge with a cast iron deck, built in St. Helen’s Foundry in Lancashire, England. The original, estimated price was 7,556 guineas, but rose to 11,000 guineas on completion. Can you imagine the large structure floating up the Liffey on a barge, before being lifted into place, by MANPOWER and not the modern machinery we have today.

We continued our walk along the quays, stopping at each bridge to hear the story behind it and sometimes crossing over the bridge to take in some detail, find a space large enough to hold twenty of us without causing obstruction to passers-by or the moving motorised traffic. The journey from Watling Street to our final destination and watering hole was 5 km.

We explored:

James Joyce Bridge 2003 – road bridge
Mellow’s Bridge 1768 – road bridge
Father Mathew Bridge 1818 – road bridge
O’Donovan Rossa Bridge 1816 – road bridge
Grattan Bridge 1874 – road bridge
Millennium Bridge 1999 – footbridge
Liffey Bridge 1816 *1
O’Connell Bridge 1791 – dual carriage road bridge, a continuation of O’Connell St.
Rosie Hackett Bridge will be officially opened on 20 May 2014 – Road bridge.
Butt Bridge 1932 previous structure in 1879 – road bridge
Loopline Bridge 1891 *2
Talbot Memorial Bridge 1978 – road bridge
Seán O’Casey Bridge 2005 – footbridge
Samuel Beckett Bridge 2009 – Rotatable road bridge

At this stage, the evening was cooling down the closer we came to the coastline, legs grew tired and Anto’s whistle needed wetting, so we adjourned to the Ferryman pub at Sir John Rogerson Quay.

In days gone by the Liffey Ferry crossed the river at this point, transporting workers from North to South of the river to work in the Gasometer, the Banana Factory and Dublin’s ship building yard. As recently as the mid 1980’s Guinness boats carried barrels of their famous brew past The Ferryman.

I thought I knew the city of my birth, having grown up in the days when I needed money for nylons or tights, I walked everywhere instead of waiting for buses that knew not a timetable. You know the story, no bus for an age and then three come together!

Since I moved North thirty seven years ago, traffic has changed direction along the quays several times and five new bridges have been added with a sixth due to be unveiled tomorrow and open to motor traffic on Wednesday.

I will include some of my photos, the flotilla was an unexpected surprise and we were close enough to chat to the people on board the various water-craft. I have just realised that I have no photos of O’Connell Bridge. It was busy and broad, so difficult for me to take a good photo. Maybe I was too busy chatting to remember. 😉

For more information, and professional photos please check out Anto’s website link above.

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*1 Liffey Bridge is foot bridge. In the beginning there was a toll to reclaim some of the building cost, so it became know as the Ha’penny bridge and the name stuck. In Dublin, we like our nicknames!

*2 Liffey Viaduct, a rail bridge with overhead power supply for the crescent shaped Dart electric train line along Dublin Bay.

15 thoughts on “Walking the streets with no rain!

  1. nick

    The Samuel Beckett Bridge is wonderful with its harp-like design.and the way it rotates to let ships pass through. And I love the Halfpenny Bridge. I’ve never heard of any other bridge that used to have a toll!

    1. Grannymar Post author

      Nick, I love this little nugget from Wikipedia:

      Before the Ha’penny Bridge was built there were seven ferries, operated by a William Walsh, across the Liffey.[2] 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.[citation needed] 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.[3]

      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 of the bridge.

    1. Grannymar Post author

      Don’t jump, Nick. Please don’t jump. The Liffey was always on the stinky side and before you ask…. Guinness do not use Liffey water to make the Black stuff!

  2. colonialist

    What a lot of bridges! You must have walked your feet off. The sights, though … HEY! There’s our City Hall! … I had heard it was a copy of the one there. Sure looks like it. Anyway, the sights do seem to have been many and varied!

    1. Grannymar Post author

      I had heard your City Hall was almost a replica to Belfast City Hall, designed by Alfred Brumwell Thomas.

      The photos above all come from Dublin, one hundred miles further south, Where many buildings were designed by James Gandon, you can see examples of his work here: http://archiseek.com/tag/james-gandon/.

      Elly tells me I walked 5 km, It was after 11 p.m. when we left the Ferryman, so we hailed a taxi for the homeward journey.

    1. Grannymar Post author

      A week of warm sunshine and no hills made it so easy for walking. Back home on Sunday to rain, Yesterday was a day for resting. Now to play catch-op.

    1. Grannymar Post author

      One of my Toyboys offered with the best of intentions, to organise a wheelchair, If I felt it would help. The journey was flat, we knew the distance and with lots of stops (17) and in typical ramblers mode, I began each stage with a different person to chat too. I was tired, but pleasantly so.

  3. Al

    Enjoyed this, Marie. Always been a fan of bridges, from old-timey covered bridges to the newest in technology. And Lord only knows I’ve burned a few in my time.

    1. Grannymar Post author

      Glad you enjoyed it, Al. The style of the bridges cover a very wide range. Had I tried to write about all of them it would have become boring. better to give a taste and link to the experts!

      Burning bridges…. Don’t remind me! 😉

    1. Grannymar Post author

      Dianne, It is not so difficult, just try the following steps.

      Click on Add Media and choose a photo as per normal. DO NOT insert into the post. Repeat for as many photos as you want (try three or four to begin with).

      Click on Create Gallery in Left column. Then decide on the order of the photos.

      Click on your number one, and it will appear as a thumbnail below your photos.
      Continue with 2, 3, & 4.

      Then go to Right column and click on Create Gallery

      Choose TYPE and the drop down arrow beside Thumbnail grid.

      Then click on Slide show.

      Finally, click on Insert Gallery

      Voila! You have a Slideshow!


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