Historical Background and Significance
The O’Connell Bridge was built in 1794, though construction of the bridge began in 1791. The designer of the O’Connell Bridge, James Gandon, opted for a narrower design that featured three half-circles arching over the Liffey River in the heart of Dublin, Ireland. The bridge was constructed out of granite, but also features sandstone pillars and balustrades, Parisian lamps, and stone steps that give the bridge a more regal aesthetic. The bridge was originally built for, as much art and architecture was done at the time, for a Lord in Ireland, the 5th Earl of Carlisle. In fact, the O’Connell Bridge was originally named the Carlisle Bridge because of this. The bridge earned its new name in 1882 after reconstruction of the bridge occurred to allow a wider amount of travel to cross the Liffey on O’Connell Street. The bridge was renamed for the Liberator Daniel O’Connell.
Art / Attraction of Significance
The O’Connell Bridge is free to visit in Dublin, Ireland for any desiring visitors. The bridge offers pristine views of Dublin as well as the Liffey River. However, in terms of entertainment, the O’Connell Bridge is limited. Visitors can cross the bridge or lookout upon the city of Dublin, but the bridge itself does not offer much historical significance or groundbreaking architecture. This O’Connell Brigde is, however, well known by the people of Dublin and is adored for its simple Ireland aesthetic. The O’Connell Bridge, which is closer to the mouth of the Liffey River, was originally measured at 210 feet in length and 40 feet wide. The bridge served as an early road bridge in Dublin and according to a traffic census in 1860, approximately 1037 vehicles travelled across what was then known as the Carlisle Bridge every hour. The Bridge’s key architectural attractions are its Portland stone balustrades, half-circle arches, and granite construction.
- Whelan, Yvonne. “Monuments, power and contested space—the iconography of Sackville Street (O’Connell Street) before independence (1922).” Irish geography 34.1 (2001): 11-33.