The Halfpenny Bridge, pronounced Haypenny Bridge by Dubliners is 200 years old today. It’s official name is The Liffey Bridge but that title is only used by tourists looking for directions. The bridge is to get the red carpet treatment later on today.
It was originally named The Wellington Bridge and a toll of a halfpenny was charged to cross the River Liffey in safety. Prior to the building of the pedestrian bridge the alternative was to use the slippery steps down to the risky ferry service then face the mossy steps again on the other bank.
The toll fare of a halfpenny ( half an old English penny ) matched the price of the one way ferry crossing. The ferry service was discontinued when the foot bridge opened. A lucrative agreement was arrived at with the ferry owner who happened to be a member of the city corporation. He was granted a 100 year lease on the bridge and some say £3000 compensation for the closure of his ferry business. Others say the bridge cost £3000 and the toll was levied on Dubliners to recover the building costs.
I am sure it is all recorded in the city archive. Google the “The Halfpenny Bridge, Dublin” for the facts.