Don’s Dublin: Samuel Beckett Bridge

by Don Cameron
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Samuel Becket Bridge, dublin bridge

It’s different, that’s for sure, but the image of an ancient Irish harp spinning in the air was the inspiration that lead Santiago Calatrava to the unique design for the Samuel Beckett Bridge.

It was the second bridge over the Liffey that he designed, having previously seen the James Joyce Bridge open on Bloomsday 2003. Both Joyce and Beckett (born 13 April 1906) left their native city  early on to pursue their dreams, but neither ever forgot about Dublin.

The bridge, stretching 123 metres from Guild Street on the north quays to Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, is a vital part of the city’s traffic flow system and unites the local communities. It is a vital part in the overall plan for the area as it looks forward into future.

It is, uniquely, a moving bridge, opening up and welcoming visitors to the city. It swings through 90 degrees and is an impressive sight that is not to be missed.

Although Calatrava was appointed in 1999 building did not begin until April 2007.

The bridge was made in Rotterdam, Holland, and shipped to Dublin – a 630-mile trip – in May 2009. It was followed all the way by interested onlookers and social media platforms before arriving in Dublin Bay. The total cost of the project, €60 million, which included new roads and various upgrades, was paid for by the Dublin City Council, the Dublin Docklands Authority and the Department of Environment, Heritage and Culture. 

The official opening was held on 10th December 2009, and it was attended by both Beckett’s niece and nephew. Also in attendance was Seamus Heaney, another Nobel Laureate, who shares Beckett’s birthday (born 13 April 1937). 

The bridge, which complements Calatrava’s other bridge to the West, is not only loved by many for its aesthetic appeal but by professionals as it won the 2010 Engineers Ireland Award. 

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