Monday, November 26, 2012

Liffey Trivia

1-Beat that Calatrava: Mellows Bridge, constructed in 1764 is the oldest of all the bridges currently spanning the Liffey.

2-River Gods: The sculpted heads on the keystones of the O’Donovan Rossa Bridge represent Plenty, the Liffey, and Industry on one side, and Commerce, Hibernia and Peace on the other.

3-A Boardwalk off a Boardwalk: A 120m cobbled, floating street moored off the Boardwalk was refused planning permission in 2009. Two former Guinness barges were to be restored as caf├ęs and attached to the pontoon. 


4-Big in Japan: Float down the Liffey, a Japanese rock band formed in 2011 are so named not because of their love of the river but as a result of the Radiohead lyric from How to Disappear Completely.


5-A Literary Stench: Brendan Behan famously quipped, "Somebody once said that 'Joyce has made of this river the Ganges of the literary world,' but sometimes the smell of the Ganges of the literary world is not all that literary."

6-You couldn't make it up! A proposal to build a cable car system between Heuston and the O2 known as 'Suas' failed to win planning permission in 2007.

7-Dublin's Ponte Vecchio: The Bridge of Dublin built in 1428 (on the site of the current Fr Matthew Bridge) was the first stone bridge on the Liffey. It included buildings such as a chapel, bakehouse and an inn.


8-A Swift Departure: A giant sculpture of Gulliver floated down the Liffey in 1988 to celebrate Dublin's millenium. 

9-Rabbit Rescue: In 2011 a homeless man dived off O’Connell Bridge and rescued his pet rabbit after it was thrown into the river by a passerby. Subsequently he was offered a job at an animal shelter.


10-Murky Origin: The river rises in the Liffey Head Bog in the Wicklow Mountains which explains its curious brown colour and how it tastes of peat.

11-What does Poseidon have to do with the Liffey? Grattan Bridge (also known as Capel St Bridge) is adorned with creatures that are half horse, half fish, based on the mythological Hippocampus that drew Poseidon’s sea chariot.

12-The Original of the Species: The first bridge across the Liffey was built c.1014 at the original Ath Cliath (Ford of the Hurdles) crossing point that gave Dublin its Irish language name. It was sited near the point where the River Poddle flows into the Liffey.

13-A Bridge over Troubled Waters: The Loopline Bridge (1891) was the subject of almost 30 years of opposition and controversy because the structure blocks the view down river to the Custom House. However, it was deemed necessary as it provided a rail link between north and south Dublin.

14-Architectural Gem: The Millennium Bridge (1999) was prefabricated in Carlow, transported 90km and, despite weighing 60t, placed in position by a single crane.

15-A Sewer No More: King Charles II’s Lord Lieutenant, the Duke of Ormonde is responsible for insisting that houses built on the quays should buck the trend of turning away from the city’s sewer and instead face the Liffey.

16-Roll it there Ned: Ned Byrne, the father of Gay Byrne (famous Irish broadcaster) was a skipper on the Killiney, one of the barges that ferried barrels of Guinness down the Liffey to the port.


17-A Shrinking River: The Liffey was originally much wider, so much so that the Vikings could tie their longships up at the famous Long Stone (or Stein) at the present day junction of D’Olier St and Pearse St. 

18-The Recession Hasn't Been All Bad: A 48 metre high sculpture by Antony Gormley (Angel of the North) was commissioned for the Liffey in 2009. The recession grounded the 1.6 million euro project which had received planning permission and was due for completion in 2012.

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