THE SAMUEL BECKETT BRIDGE – FREQUENTLY PHOTOGRAPHED
A tourist once asked me how to get to the “harp bridge” and it took me a few minutes to realise that it was the Samuel Beckett Bridge that she was seeking. Apparently her hotel was near the bridge and she was heading in the wrong direction as someone had assumed that she was trying to get to the Guinness brewery.
Samuel Beckett Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge in Dublin that joins Sir John Rogerson’s Quay on the south side of the River Liffey to Guild Street and North Wall Quay in the Docklands area.
Architect Santiago Calatrava was the lead designer of the bridge. He was assisted with the civil and structural aspects of the design by Roughan & O’Donovan consulting engineers.
This was the second bridge in the area designed by Calatrava, the first being the James Joyce Bridge, which is further upriver.
Constructed by a “Graham Hollandia Joint Venture”, the main span of the Samuel Beckett Bridge is supported by 31 cable stays from a doubly back-stayed single forward arc tubular tapered spar, with decking provided for four traffic and two pedestrian lanes. It is also capable of opening through an angle of 90 degrees allowing ships to pass through. This is achieved through a rotational mechanism housed in the base of the pylon.
The shape of the spar and its cables is said to evoke an image of a harp lying on its edge. (The harp being the national symbol for Ireland from as early as the thirteenth century).