Ha’ Dublin's Penny Bridge

Ha’ Dublin's Penny Bridge
Ha’ Dublin's Penny Bridge

Bridges can basically be considered as a work of engineering, in which the most important thing is the calculation of weights, resistance and materials to save by elevation, generally the course of a river, and thus join its two banks. In other words, it is essential to calculate their security well so that they fulfill their mission.

However there are bridges that are more than just an engineering job. From their very conception they are taken as a work of architecture and treated as an artistic element. And once built, they become not only a functional and social element, but also become part of the culture, legends and traditions of a place.

Dublin's Ha'penny Bridge

Dublin Ha’Penny Bridge

Examples of this there are many in any corner of the planet and originating in any time. From the Roman Bridge of Córdoba to the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, passing through the Sant'Angelo Bridge in Rome or the Mostar Bridge in Bosnia Herzegovina.

Well, in that same category we could include Dublin's famous Ha' Penny Bridge. And it is that when it was built in 1816 it was the only bridge that crossed the waters of the River Liffey in the capital of Ireland. So the river divided the city in two and the inhabitants could only cross from one bank to the other by boat.

That is why to pay for the work on the bridge it was decided thatusers would have to pay half a penny per person to walk on it. This nuance is important, since to save money, many crossed on their backs or shoulders, in order to save that half penny, which eventually was a whole penny. A payment custom that lasted until 1919.

And even originally, the bridge was given another name. However, due to the toll, it ended up being renamed in a popular way, and although today it is free, it is still called that.

On the other hand, although other bridges have since been built in Dublin, some even by renowned 21st century architects such as Santiago Calatrava, the truth is that none comes even close to the beauty of this pedestrian bridge.

It has small dimensions, its metal elements do not have excessive decorations, except for the arch-shaped elements that evoke the idea of ​​a door. Basically it is rather simple, even more so taking into account the decorative character of certain constructive currents of the time related to the dynamic forms of Modernism. And yet, in that simplicity, in the curvature that it forms over the river, in its white color of the entire metallic structure and in its elegant austerity lies all its art and the many legends that surround it.

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