Ha’ Penny Bridge, Dublin

The Ha' Penny Bridge, Dublin, IR
The Ha’ Penny Bridge, Dublin

Sometimes what initially seems like only an inconvenience turns out to be an opportunity to discover something charming.  I arrived at my Dublin hotel around 6:00am after flying a red-eye from New York, only to find that they didn’t have a room ready for me.  I couldn’t get mad, since, after all, it was 6:00am and check-out time was 2:00pm.  So I did what I normally do in a new city-I took a stroll.  I found my way to the Ha’ Penny Bridge, that crosses the river which divides Dublin, the Liffey.  The cast iron bridge was built in 1816 by a guy that operated ferries on the river.  Apparently, the ferries were in pretty bad shape, because the city gave him an ultimatum: repair the boats or build a bridge.  He chose the later on the condition that he could charge a ha’ penny (that’s half a penny to us Americans) for every one that crossed for 100 years.

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Can eternal love survive bolt-cutters?

One of the most charming things I discovered was the tradition of love locks on the bridge.  Basically, a couple will attach a padlock to the bridge and toss the key into the river, thus confirming their love for eternity-or at least until the City Council for Historical Preservation removes them for safety and maintenance reasons.  It doesn’t seem fair. I mean, do they ever have to clean out the coins from the Trevi Fountain in Rome because of ‘maintenance’ reasons?  Maybe I need to go to Rome and find out.

One thought on “Ha’ Penny Bridge, Dublin”

  1. I’ve heard about this bridge, but I never knew what the exact reasoning for the padlocks was. It’s a pretty neat story! I guess the society just doesn’t want a million keys in the water. I mean, there is a difference between an isolated body of water in a fountain and the water in a river. Either way, I enjoyed this little factual post!

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