Link to the past: all you want to know about Dublin’s bridges
Facts, figures and more than 900 historical and modern images
Changing times: photographs from Dublin City Council’s new website bridgesofdublin.ie: O’Connell Bridge in 1905; after Easter Week, 1916; and in 2013. Photograph courtesy of the National Library of Ireland
Many a pub quiz has descended into disarray over this question: how many bridges span the River Liffey in Dublin?
The answer, according the Dublin City Council, is 23. But does that include pedestrian bridges? Or the Rosie Hackett Bridge, which is still under construction? And what about the Loopline Bridge?
Answers to these questions – and many more – can be found at bridgesofdublin.ie, the council’s new website dedicated to Dublin’s bridges and their history.
The digital archive contains more than 900 images from the modern to the historical, some of which have never before been on public display, from sources including the National Gallery, the National Library of Ireland, the Dublin City Archive, and The Irish Times.
The site provides design and engineering information on each bridge, as well as statistics and facts, such as that the Custom House was built at an angle so it could be best viewed from O’Connell Bridge, but the view was later obscured by the Loopline; Mellows Bridge at Queen St, built in 1768 is the oldest existing bridge, but the first bridge across the river is believed to have been built around 1000.
Another is that in 1913 Dublin Corporation adopted plans to demolish the Ha’penny Bridge and replace it with an art galley over the river, proposed by Hugh Lane and designed by Edwin Lutyens – the plan was later dropped.
The site also contains stories of ferrymen trying to stop bridges being built, highwaymen exploiting the potential of bridges, and unscrupulous developers building bridges in the 1600s which quickly fell down. Users can also submit their own stories and pictures to the site.