Like many great cities, Dublin straddles a major river - the Liffey - and there are a large number of bridges, some of them for pedestrians only linking the two sides.
Dublin has its own Millennium bridge, although it has to be said that compared with a number of British millennium bridges, Dublin's offers elegant simplicity, rather than any dramatic statement. The main structure was built in Carlow, some 80 Km away, and consists of a portal frame made up of a slender steel truss and resting on reinforced concrete haunches. It was installed in December 1999 and links Eustace Street in Temple Bar to the North Quays.
A short way downstream is the rather more famous Ha'penny Bridge, another footbridge, but this time nearly 200 years old. Officially it is known as the "Liffey Bridge" from a time when there were not nearly so many bridges over the river. History has it that one William Walsh who operated seven ferries across the River Liffey, was informed that he either had to restore his ferries to good working order, or build a bridge. He chose to build the bridge over the period 1816 to 1821 at a cost of £3,000, and was granted the right to extract a ha'penny toll from everyone passing over the bridge for the ensuing century. With inflation, the bridge eventually became known as the Penny Ha'penny Bridge before the toll was finally lifted in 1919. Owing to the wear and tear caused by heavy pedestrian usage, once the Millennium Bridge was completed, the Ha'penny Bridge was closed from 2001-3, to permit a major reconstruction.
Further downstream still, a spectacular recent addition to the Dublin scene is the Sean O'Casey bridge, a footbridge named after the famous Irish playwright, humanist and chronicler of Dublin's poor who lived in the North Wall area of the City from 1897 to 1920. The bridge was built in 2005 as part of the urban regeneration scheme of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority and opened by the Taoiseach, Bertie Aherne. Built in Poland, the bridge spans almost 100 metres and is constructed as a swing bridge with two balanced cantilever arms that swing open to allow boats to pass. Despite notices to the contrary, diving off the bridge is a popular pastime amongst the local youth.
Finally, it is worth mentioning the Samuel Beckett bridge, named after the famous Irish writer - despite its being a road bridge, but in addition to four traffic lanes, cycle tracks and footways will be provided on both sides, so that's all right. Still under construction, this is a swing bridge of cable stay construction. The bridge lines up with Guild Street on the north side. Designed by Santiago Calatrava, its design is said to evoke an image of a harp lying on its side. It bears a striking resemblance to another Calatrava bridge - the Puente de la Mujer in Buenos Aires. The steelwork of the bridge was constructed in Rotterdam and transported over to Ireland in May 2009, only a few weeks before this series of photographs was taken. The bridge is due to be opened in 2010.
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