Monday, April 12, 2010

Dublin Bridges

The Samuel Beckett Bridge across the Liffey River in Dublin opened to motor traffic in December, 2009, connecting the Convention Center to the south bank in the eastern part of the city. It is unusual, in that it is a swing bridge that rotates 90 degrees to allow river traffic to pass under it. The architect is famed Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, based in Valencia. Calatrava's inspiration was the shape of the Irish harp, a Guinness trademark.

Calatrava's first Dublin bridge opened on Bloomsday, June 16, 2003. It honors another literary icon, James Joyce. This bridge, located along the western banks of the Liffey, has a cantilevered glass bottomed pedestrian span along each side of the traffic lanes, and it bears a remarkable similarity to Caltrava's footbridge in Bilbao, Spain.

The cast iron arched pedestrian-only span known as Ha'Penny Bridge has been a Dublin favorite since 1816. For one hundred years a half penny toll was charged to those who crossed it. It was recently restored to its former glory, and the trademark pointed iron arches surmounted by coach lamps invite north siders to cross over into the Temple Bar area of the south bank.

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