Dublin’s iconic Ha’Penny Bridge – originally a toll bridge erected in honour of the Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, from Meath – has just turned 200.
The ha’penny – or half penny in old pounds, shillings and pence – was the each way toll for a hundred years from 1816, replacing an original ferry crossing.
Even during the 1916 Rising the toll keepers kept charging both ways, the last year of operation as a tollbridge.
In 1987, the structure was found to be subsiding faster than the Leaning Tower of Pisa – three inches in 17 years.
In 2001 Dublin Corporation spent nearly €2 million restoring it with Belfast steelworks and shipbuilders among the contractors.
In recent years, following the fashion in many other international cities, there has been a trend for lovers – young or old – to proclaim their mutual affection by attaching padlocks or so-called “love locks” despite, or even because of, a prohibition on them.
On Thursday descendants of the original architects and officials who commissioned the bridge were invited to take part in a ceremonial north-south crossing followed by a talk on its history at City Hall.