Father Mathew Bridge

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Father Mathew Bridge
Droichead an Athar Maitiú
270px
Father Mathew Bridge
Coordinates Coordinates: Unknown argument format
Crosses River Liffey
Locale Dublin
Preceded by First built ~1014 - Dubhghall's Bridge
Rebuilt 1385, 1394, 1428 - Known as The Bridge, Old Bridge, Dublin Bridge
Rebuilt 1816 - Whitworth Bridge
Renamed 1923 - Dublin Bridge
Renamed 1938 - Father Mathew Br.
Characteristics
Design Elliptical arch stone bridge
Total length ~45m
Width ~15m
Number of spans 3
History
Designer George Knowles
Construction end 1816
File:LiffeyFourCourtsWhitworthBridge Dublin1841 PrintWHBartlett.jpg
19th Century print by W.H. Bartlett of the Four Courts and Whitworth Bridge (left middle ground)

Father Mathew Bridge (Irish: Droichead an Athar Maitiú)[1] is a road bridge spanning the River Liffey in Dublin, Ireland and joining Merchants Quay to Church Street and the north quays. It is approximately on the site of the original, and for many years only, Bridge of Dublin, dating back to the 11th century.

History

The site of the bridge is understood to be close to the ancient "Ford of the Hurdles",[2] which was the original crossing point on the Liffey and gives its name (in Irish) to the city of Dublin (Irish: Baile Átha Cliath, meaning "Town of the Hurdled Ford").

At the turn of the first millennium (c.1014), the first recorded Dublin Liffey bridge was built at this point. Possibly known as the Bridge of Dubhghall, this basic wooden structure was maintained and rebuilt over several centuries (from early Medieval to Viking to Norman times).

These rebuilds included a Norman bridge (sanctioned by King John) in the early 13th century.[3] This collapsed however in the late 14th century and in 1428, the Dominicans of Ostmantown Friary built the first masonry bridge in Dublin on the same spot.[2] Known as Dublin Bridge, Old Bridge, or simply The Bridge, this four arch structure had towers at either end, and shops, housing, an inn and a chapel were built on its supports. In 1312 Geoffrey de Morton, Lord Mayor of Dublin 1302-3 was reprimanded for building a house without permission on the bridge. On the other hand it was he who began the towers, completed by his son-in-law John de Grauntsete, who later built St. Mary's Chapel on the Bridge.

For much of its 390-year life span, The Bridge carried all pedestrian, livestock and horse-drawn traffic across the river, and (as late as 1762) its tolls and chapel were still in use.

At the beginning of the 19th century, Dublin Bridge was replaced by a three-span, elliptical arch stone bridge. Designed by George Knowles (who also designed O'Donovan Rossa Bridge and Lucan Bridge), the bridge was opened in 1818[4] as Whitworth Bridge, for Charles, Earl of Whitworth, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

As with many other Dublin bridges (particularly those named for British peers), the bridge was renamed following independence by the Free State as Dublin Bridge in 1923.

In line with another, later, Dublin tradition of naming bridges for temperance campaigners, the bridge was renamed again in 1938 for Father Theobald Mathew (the Apostle of Temperance) who was born at Thomastown near Golden, County Tipperary.[3]

References