Ha’penny Bridge

An elegant icon of Dublin, the first pedestrian bridge to cross the Liffey.

TravelCurious Tip

The best time to visit is often at night, when the illuminated bridge can be seen reflected in the river, especially on a still evening.

2016 marks the 200th anniversary of the opening of the pretty Ha’penny bridge, which is arguably Dublin’s most photographed structure. Without doubt it is the most popular of the River Liffey’s 20 bridges, with an average of 30,000 pairs of feet crossing it each day – compared with just 450 when it first opened.

From Boats to Bridges

In the early 1800s the only way to cross the river was by using one of seven ferries, which were dilapidated and often dangerous. The city gave the ferry operator, William Walsh, an ultimatum: either fix the ferries, or build a bridge. He chose the latter option, and was given the right to charge a halfpenny toll to each person who crossed it, from which the bridge takes its name. Officially called the Liffey bridge, it was the only pedestrian bridge to span the river until the opening of the Millenium Bridge in 1999.

These days, the bridge has come a long way from its businesslike origins. The toll was scrapped in 1919, and in its place has grown an irresistible romanticism that has won the affection of an entire city. Buskers strum hopefully for the passersby, young couples stroll along hand in hand and pretty period lanterns gently illuminate the scene as dusk falls. In fact, the bridge’s romantic air became rather too much for it in 2013, when the city council was forced to remove over 300kg of “love locks” – padlocks bearing a couple’s names and attached to the bridge – citing a risk of structural failure.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Dublin
General Post Office
The capital's last great Georgian public building, and the headquarters of the Easter Rising in 1916.
Temple Bar
A lively cultural and creative quarter on the south bank of the River Liffey.
Dublin City Hall
A masterpiece of the civic Georgian architecture for which Dublin is renowned.
Irish Houses of Parliament
Today a branch of the Bank of Ireland, the old Irish Parliament buildings were a radical Neoclassical creation.
O'Connell Monument
A memorial to the 19th-century nationalist leader located in the heart of Dublin city.
O'Connell Street
O'Connell Street is the heart of Dublin's thoroughfare - with shopping, pubs, restaurants and historic landmarks, including the old post office.

Related Tours

Historic Highlights of Dublin, Private Walking Tour
 Discover the culture and vibrancy of Ireland between the rolling landscapes and foggy skyline, by taking a historical highlights tour.

  • Stroll historic O'Connell Street 
  • Snap photos of Ireland's most famous university, Trinity College
  • Admire Dublin's famous architecture, which spans several centuries and styles
  • Explore Dublin Castle's grounds, and Christ Church Cathedral,  as you learn about its exciting Viking heritage
  • Finish your tour in one of Dublin's most social neighbourhoods: Temple Bar

Celtic Pride and Irish Independence

Dublin has a rich 2,000-year-old history, spanning from the Celts to the modern day; this curated walking tour will bring that history alive. Your tour will begin with a walk along the famed O’Connell Street, where you will see The Spire, Daniel O'Connell and James Joyce statues and the General Post Office. This is the very spot where the crowds gathered for the Declaration of Irish Independence and which became inspiration for poetry and literature of the era. You will hear all about the many writers and rebels from you knowledgeable local guide. 

Stepping on the Ha’penny Bridge, a beautiful pedestrian bridge that once charged the eponymous half penny to cross, we will cross the River Liffey to walk within the hallowed campus of the famed Trinity College, Ireland’s first and most acclaimed university. Here you will hear about the college’s numerous treasures and tales of renowned past students, including Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker. 

Classical Dublin

Continue your turn about the city with a dive into some of Dublin's most famous architectural buildings, including the Neoclassical 18th century former House of Parliament and the Georgian-style City Hall. 

In the courtyard and garden of Dublin Castle, you will explore the castle’s 800-year history. Near old Christ Church Cathedral you will learn about the area's history as a Viking settlement, and view the site of the world’s first performance of Handel’s Messiah.

You will also visit the famous Temple Bar, Dublin’s cultural and entertainment quarter and one of the liveliest nightlife areas that preserves its medieval street pattern, with many narrow cobbled streets.


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