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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.
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.
Dame Street
Located on the eastern edge of the medieval city, this busy street takes its name from a large dam that was constructed here in the medieval period.
Molly Malone Statue
Iconic black bronze statue of Molly and her cart of fish.

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.

  • Explore the best of Dublin with a private guide in just 2.5 hours
  • Relive the history of the city, and even see a historic Viking home.
  • Walkthrough the gardens of Dublin Castle, with over 800 years of history. 
  • Enjoy the various architectural styles present throughout the city, each speaking to one of the different eras of Dublin.
  • See Ireland’s most famous college, Trinity College.
  • Stroll through several of the city’s famed sites, including Grafton Street, Temple Bar, and St Stephen’s Green.
  • Finish your tour, by learning about Molly Malone, where your guide will give you several recommendations to try a traditional Irish pub meal.

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. On your tour, 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.

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. 

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

Visit 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 the inspiration for poetry and literature of the era. You will hear all about the many writers and rebels from your knowledgeable local guide. Your tour will leave you not only full of the local history of the capital city but also with a great foundation to explore the city at your own leisure. 
Private Walking Tour of Dublin with a Local
Travel isn’t just about travel, it’s people, faces, food and cultures, fresh perspectives, discoveries and different ways of life - it’s about uncovering the city’s soul. It’s about connection. On your private, guided tour of Dublin with a local

  • Enjoy meaningful insights and Irish humour with a Dubliner
  • Hear how locals describe Dublin - the experiences that have shaped their worldview, including Brexit and the ‘open-border question.
  • Spend a few hours walking around the city’s highlights - including St Stephen's GreenDublin Castle, and O'Connell Street, with a private, local guide.
  • When open to the public, pop into famed Trinity College, and hear about the famous alumni who have walked its halls.
  • Pick up invaluable recommendations on off-the-beaten-tracks pubs, advice, and tips on finding the best whiskies.
  • Finish your tour over a pint of Guinness - or a coffee or tea- in your local guide’s favourite haunt.
Ireland’s compact capital - with its vibrant, historical and beautiful streets - has witnessed everything from the Great Famine to the fight for Irish Freedom. In a city made for walking, easily navigable districts make orientation a breeze, but even if you get lost, the locals are some of the friendliest you will find in the world. The annual St. Patrick's Day Parade attracts millions of revellers to Irish folk songs and Cèilidh dancing, but in Dublin, there are free-flowing pints of “the black stuff” and live music year-round in lively watering holes.

Enjoying a private, guided tour with a local will help you discover the side streets and stories often missed. Hear the intriguing backstories and learn the backstories and neighbourhood rumours which bring Dublin to life, from the revolution over a century ago to the country’s current relationship with mainland Europe and the United Kingdom

There are no substitutes for anecdotes and first-hand insight – which is why we’ve built this tour: so that you can have a Dubliner's knowledge to help you swerve tourist traps, lengthy queues and over-priced nonsense. While you walk the city, you’ll uncover its authenticity through the eyes of a Dubliner. Your tour is immersive - bringing meaningful and like-minded interesting people together that would never meet if you stuck to the main tourist drag. Experience the world-famous Irish humour, the lilt in the local accent, and great ‘craic’ over a beer or coffee at a local pub, and then jot down your guide’s version of “must do Dublin.
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