Computer Co-ordinator : Judith Bennett : This page was received from the Elanora Heights Primary School on 22nd Mar, 1996

The reports come from the students of Gerard Maloney of the North Dublin National School Project, Ireland.

The Liffey River, Dublin, Ireland


The river Liffey is the main river in Dublin, the capital of Ireland. It rises in Sally Gap near Kippure in Wicklow, the county just south of Dublin. It then travels one hundred and twenty five kilometres through the centre of Dublin City, and out into Dublin Bay, and out to the Irish Sea.
There are lots of bridges along the Liffey such as the Ha'penny bridge so called because it used to cost half a penny to cross it, and O'Connell bridge. The last bridge on the river is a toll bridge called the East Link , which is four hundred metres from the mouth of the Liffey.
Tadhg O.


On the river Liffey there are 16 bridges.The first is the Anna Livia Bridge.


The Anna Livia Bridge was originally named Chapelizod Bridge, but it changed on 5th April 1982 and became the Anna Livia Bridge in honour of James Joyce, author of the world famous novel "Finnegan's Wake". He called the river Anna Livia Plurabelle.The bridge is built on an ancient Ford site on the old highway leading to the west of Ireland.

This drawing is of Essex Bridge.


The Island bridge is a single 32m span masonry arch bridge. It spans the Liffey between Conyngham Road to the north and South Circular Road to the south.
Soon after it had been built,the bridge was known as Island Bridge.Why?
Because it was built near near an island in the River Liffey. This is now the official name of the bridge. The bridge is sometimes reffered to as Kilmainham bridge because of it's proximity to Kilmainham.

The drawing is of the Old Bridge of Dublin.


O'Connell Bridge is in the city centre. It spans the Liffey between O'Connell Street to the north and O'Connell Street to the south. It is the second bridge to stand at this point in the river.
Following development of new streets,(D'olier Street, Westmoreland Street and Sackville Street), a new and wider bridge was needed due to the increase in traffic.
Bindon.B.Stoney, the Ports and Docks Engineer, made plans for the new bridge to be widened to the width of Sackville street. It had the distinction of being nearly as wide as it is long. The older details by Gandon were repeated by Stoney. The bridge was renamed in 1880 in honour of Daniel O'Connell.
Aoife M.

The drawing is of King's Bridge.


Butt Bridge spans the River Liffy between Beresford Place to the north and Tara Street to the south.
The first bridge to be built on this site, it opened on August 26th 1879. It was built as a swivel bridge to allow shipping to come further up the river. It cost 44,662 pounds.
Following an increase in traffic, rebuilding and widening of the bridge became necessary. The new bridge was designed by Joseph Mallagh. Upon completion of the bridge in 1932, it was tested with various rollers, steam wagons and lorries to see if it conformed to standards.
The bridge is called Butt Bridge in honour of Isaak Butt, leader of the Irish Party in the House of Commons and founder of the Home Rule for Ireland Movement.
By: Nicola B.


One of Dublin's most famous bridges is the Ha'penny . The Ha'penny Bridge is a walk over bridge that crosses over the river Liffey. The official name is the Liffey Bridge , but to the people of Dublin it is Ha'penny Bridge.
It was built as a toll bridge, probably to replace the Bagnio Ferry, and opened on 19 May 1816. It is an important part of Irish heritage. For a short time admirers of the Duke of Wellington called it the Wellington Bridge. But he didn't care so the name was soon dropped. Soon the name "Triangle Bridge" was given.
Now the bridge is called the Ha'penny Bridge because you used to have to pay half a penny to cross it. But now you don't have to pay anything.
By Patricia G.

The drawing is of the Carlisle Bridge.


Characteristics of the Liffey


Death on the LIFFEY

On the afternoon of Friday, 11 March 1597, the focus of attention in the bustling hub of Dublin's maritime quarter was the wooden city crane. The crane was unloading some gunpowder from a ship moored to the dock on the Liffey.
The clock over the Bridge Gate had just gone one as the sling of the crane swung four barrels towards the quay. Suddenly, in a blinding flash and a thunderous roar the scene was one of destruction.
A smoking crater marked the place where 140 barrels of gunpowder had been stacked. The crane and cranehouse had been obliterated. Everywhere there were strewn shattered bodies and parts thereof.
Back from the Liffey in the maze of streets and lanes of the city, venerable buildings and churches as well as private houses were displaying signs of the blast.
It was several days after 11th March when the exact number of casualties were established. There were many non-natives among the dead, and some headless corpses were impossible to identify.
The first reports of 200 killed was found to be an overestimate and eventually a figure of 126 dead was settled on. To put the number of citizens killed in perspective we must realise that the population of Dublin in 1597 was probubly much less then 10,000. It's possible that up to 1 percent of the population perished on that March afternoon - equivalent to 10,000 of Dublin's population today.
Robbie G.


The Draught Of Turleyhydes.

In June 1331, a great shoal of very large fish was stranded at the south of Bull Island. That is at the east coast of Dublin. It was told that they were so big that if two men stood one at each side of a fish they would not be able to see each other. In that time there was a shortage of food in Dublin and the Lord justice, Sir Anthony Lucy, gave permission to the citizens to slaughter the fish and take as much as they liked.
As James Joyce said "a school of turtle-hide whales stranded in hot noon, spouting, hobbling in the shallows. Then from the starving cagework, a horde of jerkined dwarfs, my people, with flayers' knives running, scaling, hacking in green blubbery whale meat".
In case you think this is a fairy tale, in the year 1598 Hendrik Goltizus drew a similar scene showing a sperm whale that was stranded on a beach in Holland. Men are shown standing around the whale. In 1983 a similar incident occurred at Bunmahon in county Wexford.
Gillian L.


Flags along the Liffey

We did a project on flags along the River Liffey. We designed the flags with St. Michael's House, a school for disabled children. We drew the flags with pencil first and then with paint and finally with paper shapes which we had to cut out.
Artists from the ARC (childrens Art centre) helped to design the flags. We had to wait a couple of weeks before we could put them up.
Other schools designed more of the flags. Last September we had a day out of school to see the flags flying for the first time. Overall there were more than one hundred flags.
Daniel G.

Transport on the Liffey


The Loop Line Railway Bridge connects Tara Street Station on the south of the river Liffey to Connolly Station on the north.The bridge is made of cast iron but it stands on a series of Grecian columns made of limestone.
Between 1920 and 1926,Dublin Corporation investigated the possibility of building a tunnel under the Liffey which would carry the railway and abolish the Loop Line Bridge.
A series of tests were carried out, but the idea was found to be impractical. EAST-LINK TOLL BRIDGE; The Toll Bridge spans from Eastwall Road to the north and the Eastlink Road to the south.The Toll Bridge system replaced a regular ferry service which had operated since 1665.The bridge consists of four precast prestresed concrete approach spans with a central steel single leaf bascule type opening span which is hydraulically operated.The total span of the bridge is 21.5m.The bridge's construction, which was a huge engineering undertaking was completed in only 18 months and was formally opened in October 1984. Now, Dublin commuters enjoy a relatively cheap and highly efficent service operating non-stop.
Rian M.


The picture is comparing the Liffey in 837AD compared to 1996AD.


It would appear that at one time parts of a plain of an Irish county, Kildare were known as the plains of Liffe. The river perhaps, Abha (Irish for river) or Abhann Liffe, or, as it could have become in an Anglicised version, Avon Liffey. Through the centuries the name appears in many forms- in public records, deeds and maps - and, in the absence of a single recognised spelling, these names may well have reflected the sounds that individual scribes heard. Some of these forms follow. They suggest Irish, English, French and Latin influences.
The name of the river is Alyffy, Amliffy, Ampliffy, Amplifee, Ampnlyffy, Analiffe, Analiffy, Annalyffe, Anneliffi, Annelyffee, Anne lyffy , Annlyffy, Antlyffie, Avanalith, Avanalith, Aveneliffy, Auenlif, Aunlyffe, Avanalith, Avenesliz, Avenliffey, Avenlithe, Avenlyf, Aveyn Liffey, Avon Liffey, Liffe, Aven Liffie, Lybinum, Lyffye, River of Dublin, Ruirteach, Ruirtech.
While the formal name is now Liffey, the name Anna Liffey was retained in some official documents until relatively recently; and this form would have led to James Joyce's Anna Livia Plurabelle.
Another word associated with the river is the Irish word, Ruirteach, which means "raging". It is associated with the Liffey because of the flash-flooding that could change the river to a raging torrent.
Fiona O. B.

From The Begining

The history of Dublin as a town is normally said to date from 841,when Vikings established a fortified stockade on high ground overlooking the Liffey.
Yet there is still little doubt that there was some scattered settled life in the area before their arrival. Not only was Dublin Bay one of the finest on the east coast with many places where one could beach the small curraghs (boats), then in use for travel to Britain, but also it included several natural harbours where larger craft could land. The best of these was at Black Pool (Linn Dubh) where the River Poddle entered the Liffey.
This appears to have had some importance as a point of entry from and departure for Britain, as many of the most important roads seem to have met in its vicinity.The main road from the North was linked to the southern roads by a ford of hurdles across the Liffey at a shallow spot near the present Whitworth Bridge.
There seem to have been at least two Gaelic settlements in the area, Ath Cliath, which was on the ridge above the ford, and Dubhlinn, a monastic enclosure of the sixth or seventh century. These settlements, however, could not be called a town in the accepted sense of the word, for, although goods may have been imported on a large scale into the country, the Irish tended to regard ports as merely points of entry, not as centres of economic activity.
Barry F.


The picture shows the difference between the shoreline, at high tide in 1660 and today. In the year 800, before man influenced the shape of the river, the water level in the Liffey rose and fell with the tide to the very much the same levels as it does today.
. The tide reached somewhere around Islandbridge, and the level of the water was, of course, also influenced by the amount of rain falling into the Liffey basin.
At Wood Quay in 800 the shore was more than 100 metres south of the present river wall. East of the mouth of the river Poddle, the first sign of an estuary appeared.
From 1600 onwards, the high tide shore line of the Liffey has been progressively contained within the quay walls, land reclamations, and the great walls in the bay. Low tides no longer expose large areas of mud or sand within the region of the river channel. In the city, from the Pigeonhouse to Islandbridge, the width of the river is virtually the same at both extremes of the tide.


When the year 841 AD came around the history of Ireland was changed forever, for it was the year that the Vikings settled in Ireland .They settled in a small village on the east coast of Ireland and after a couple of years they turned it into a small fortified town.
The town was placed along side a river where they would come in the first time they invaded Ireland which was in 795 A.D. The river is now better know as the river Liffey.
The Vikings were very important to Ireland and its history. They built the city walls and some of the buildings. There are still rich archaeological remains still visible in Wood Quay. They had also introduced stone into the country.
The Vikings intermarried and started a new culture, and they adapted very quickly to the Irish language and the countryside. When they started the new culture they named the city Dubh Linn after the river. Dubh Linn means the black pool but the river wasn't polluted it was just naturally occurring.
Over the centuries the name changed from Dubh Linn to what its now know as Dublin. This possibly occurred from misunderstanding the word Dubh Linn and then passing it on through the ages.
Marie Claire D and Jenny O


Soyers Food Kitchen

There is an area near the city center on the banks of the Liffey which appears never to have been built on and in winter 1847 while the Great Famine was raging in Ireland there were many people who where on the brink of starvation. To offer assistance the government invited Alexis Soyer who was probably the most famous chef in Europe at the time to help them.
He had made a soup that if eaten with some bread would sustain a man or woman for a day and he was asked to provide this soup in Dublin. Woodham Smith records in The Great Hunger that a soup kitchen was made at the front of the Royal Barracks in Dublin in April 1847.
It was a big wooden building about forty feet long and thirty feet wide and there was a door at each end. People waited outside the building and then were led down a narrow alley and then a bell rang and they were let in a hundred at a time.
They sat at a long table. Their soup was served from a 300 gallon boiler into bowls stuck into the table and they ate their food with spoons that were chained to the bowls.
Things were like this because people were poor and they may have robbed the bowls and spoons. Anyway they lapped up their soup, went out, a bell rang and another hundred were let in. One must be thankful to Soyer for his compassion but it's thought maybe the government were only avoiding bigger trouble in the form of rioting by setting up this feeding program.
Kevin M.

The Custom House

The Custom House was designed by James Gandon, a very famous architect of his time, and was started in 1791. The Custom House was built of granite and Portland stone and cost about half a million pounds. It was burnt in 1921 but the outside was mostly unharmed.

At the back of the Custom House are four statues representing Europe, Asia, Africa, and America.

Christ Church Cathedral

In the middle of the medieval town we find the old cathedral of the Holy Trinity, better known as Christ Church. This was founded about 1030 by King Sitric Silkbeard and Bishop Dunan, and the late twelfth century crypt is the oldest standing building in Dublin.
With the conversion of St. Patrick's Church to cathedral status, Dublin become the only diocese in Latin Christdom with two cathedrals co-existing in the same town - one secular and the other monastic.

St Patrick's Catherdral

Have you heard of Gulliver's Travels? Who hasn't? Jonathan Swift the famous writer of Gullivers Travels was Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral which is on the bank of the River Liffey.
by Stephen C.R.


The Liffey quays were almost all built in stone. In their early days, the waterside edge of most of them was unprotected, which is indeed the most natural condition for a quay; or there were houses or high walls along the river, with acess to the water being by slips between or through them. The stone parapets on the Liffey quays were built generally at the end of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, mostly under the direction of George Halpin Senior, inspector and later engineer for the Port Corporation. Extensive lengths of the quays downsteam still have unprotected edges. Under state legislation, the maintenance of the quay walls from Rory O'More brige to the sea, being technically in navigable waters, is the responsibility of the Dublin Corporation.
Sea going river traffic has been steadily pushed downstream over the last three hundred years by the successive building of river bridges eastwards, and there is now no sea going traffic west of Talbot Memorial Bridge. The last quay up river to be in active use was the Victoria Quay where the Guinness steam barges with their distinctive folding funnels continued to operate until 1961. The openings in the parapets which gave access to their jetties can still be identified by the stonework used to fill them.

The South Quays

The quays on the south bank of the Liffey today, listed in the order of construction, are as follows.
The year given for each is not precise, as it takes more than one year to build a quay. Other names used for the quays are in brackets.
Wood Quay 900 {Coal Quay}
Merchants Quay 1300 {Bridge Street Quay and, jointly with Wood Quay, Dublin Quay}
Blind Quay early 1700s
Old Custom House Quay 1620
Usher's Quay 1650
Ushers Island 1650
Essex Quay 1680
Aston Quay 1700
Saint Georges Quay 1700
City Quay 1700
Sir John Regersons Quay 1720
Burgh Quay 1800
Wellington Quay 1820
Victoria Quay 1850
South Quay 1960
Ben H


In 1220 the citizens of Dublin complained to Henry 111, saying "the prior and friars of the Hospital of Kilmainham have lately made a pool there whereby the city and citizens are much damnified".
This would have been the weir in more or less its present position, and the purposes of the friars would have been to develop the millstream, which is still to be seen, and possibly also to reduce the contamination of the drinkable Liffey water by tidal salt water and city waste.
The King sided with the citizens and ordered his judiciary to "cause to be surveyed by good and lawful men of the venue of Dublin the pool which the Hospitaliers have made in the Avenesliz so boats bearing wood and other necessaries to the village of Dublin may pass and repass and fish may ascend and descend"; and he later ordered the obstruction to be removed. However for reasons that remain unclear, this was never done.
Barry F.


When James Gandon was commissioned to design the custom house, he approached Edward Smyth. Edward Smyth was a virtually unknown sculpturer, but then James Gandon took him on as his principal sculpturer .He designed fourteen river head stones based on the traditional classical motifs and incorporated the principal features of the counties they flowed through. He worked on them throughout the 1780's and they were completed in 1786.
Cailin F.

The Civic Offices and Wood Quay

The Civic Offices are Dublin Corporation. They were built a few years ago, and when they were built, it caused a lot of controversy.
About fifty years after the Norsemen established their settlement, they constructed an earthen bank below the ridge, to hold back the tide and to make space for loading and unloading their ships. This was the first wood quay, the oldest quay in Dublin.
Since then, the quay area has increased, by simply repeatedly building in front of the old work, which, of course, was built by the Vikings.
Now, at present day, the river has been pushed back at least 20 metres, and the formation of the wood quay is just about complete.
After declaring it a historical place, a lot of people are now extremely angry that the civic offices were built on wood quay.
Conor M.

This is part of the Four Courts.


In 1585,Sir John Perrott ordered a survey to be made of the walls of the city. The walls were fitted with towers and six of these were on the riverside. These buildings formed part of the defences of the city.


Issolde's Tower was a fortified building twelve meters high, round on the outside and was 5.4 metres square inside with two floors and walls 2.7 metres thick. In 1558 it was let to the "master, wardens and corporation of the bakers." About fifty years later in 1604 this tower was leased to Jacob Mewman for 119 years and Speed, in his map of 1610 described it as Mewman's Tower. It was located forty metres from the south end of Essex[now Grattan] Bridge and it marked the eastern end of the early quays.
In 1577 Richard Stanihurst wrote of Issolde's Tower. Whilst this scarcely dates the first mention of the name, the tower in its prominent position over looking the Poddle-Liffey confluence must have seemed of dateless antiquity.
The demolition of the tower was sanctioned by the Council in 1681.
David K.


This famous landmark towered above Dublin 40 metres tall until March 1966..

It was a favourite rendez-vouz for citizens of Dublin and a great view of the city was to to be seen from it's summit. It stood on O Connell street by the Liffey until some person(s) unknown decided in the heat of Nationalist fervour that it was not fitting to have Admiral Nelson's naval exploits commemorated in the principal street of our capital city. It was blown up during the night.
A popular song at the time went ....


Millenium Clock in the Liffey

A huge clock is being built under the water in the river Liffey.
It will show citizens how many seconds to the next millennium .
The National Lottery is funding money towards building it.
The building has just started and it should be ready some time this year(1996).
By Colleen F. -----------------------------------------------------------------


James Joyce and the Liffey

"O tell me all about Anna Livia!I want to hear all about Anna Livia.Well, you know Anna Livia? Yes, of course we all know Anna Livia. Tell me all. "
This is a quote from JAMES JOYCE`S famous book FINNEGAN'S WAKE.
"Perkodhuskurunbarggruauyagokgorlayorgromgremmitghundhurthrumathunaradidilli- faititibumullunukkunun."
This is just one of the strange words that JAMES JOYCE uses in FINNEGAN'S WAKE, does anyone know what it means ?

We have many famous writers such as OSCAR WILDE, SAMUEL BECKETT, and, most recently of all, SEAMUS HEANEY, who won a nobel prize for literature.
These are only three of Ireland`s famous writers but there are many more.
The great novel, "ULYSSES", by JAMES JOYCE, was written about a journey across Dublin, over the Liffey, on June 16th 1904 - a date which is now observed as Bloomsday in Dublin. When the book was published it was banned in Dublin!!
A strange thing about ULYSSES is that the last chapter, many pages long, has only one full stop - at the very end of the book!
Kynan F.

Art Inspired by the Liffey

Over the years the Liffey has managed not only to inspire a great deal of creativity , but as well to earn a place in several novels, most note- worthy perhaps the chapter in James Joyce's novel Finnegan's Wake entitled Anna Livia Plurabelle (You can find some of that chapter in another article).
In a recent project named flags along the Liffey, some of the flags were inspired by the Liffey, some of the flags (one of ours included) featured buildings along the banks of the Liffey. If you are more interested in this project there is a section about it on our Homepage.
One of the beautiful statues along O'Connell Street is the Anna Livia statue. It was designed by Eamon O'Doherty. It is about eight years old and the statue is made of bronze and the fountain is made of granite. The inspiration for the statue came from the chapter (mentioned already) written by James Joyce. The statue has several nick-names including Biddy in the Bidet and the floozie in the jacuzzi which is a sure sign of affection among Dubliners.
Maev Mac C.


Shell fish was a big trade at a small price in Dublin 80 years ago.
Well over 80 tonnes was sold every year.
There was also a lot of typhoid spreading.
It was thought that the typhoid came from the contaminated shell fish.
There was a poem about a woman called Molly Malone who sold shell fish for a living.

In Dublin's fair city
Where the girls are so pretty,
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone.
As she wheeled her wheelbarrow
Through streets broad and narrow
Crying "Cockles and Mussels
Alive alive oh!

Alive alive oh!
Alive alive oh!
Crying "Cockles and Mussels
Alive alive oh!"

She was a fishmonger
And sure 'twas no wonder
For so were her Mother and Father before
And they wheeled their whellbarrows
through streets broad and narrow
Crying "Cockles and Mussels
Alive alive oh!"

Alive alive oh!
She died of a fever
And no-one could save her
And that was the end of sweet Molly Malone
Now her ghost wheels her barrow
Through streets broad and narrow
Crying "Cockles and Mussels
Alive alive oh!"

Alive alive oh!
There is a verse that says "She died of a fever and no one could save her
and that was the end of sweet Molly Malone".
Molly Malone probably died of the contaminated shell fish.
The cockle trade ended because of the highly polluted river.
After a while nothing could live in the Liffey.
Because of this, a group of people started to clean up the Liffey.
Now salmon and other fish are able to swim and able to be caught in the Liffey up stream and eaten.
Sean M.S.


Melding, forming
On bottom and on top
Green water, blue water
Reflects the sky
Soft colours
Peaceful unnoticeable sounds
Swirling moving
Alive all the time
Soft as powder
But as strong as time
Hardly an existence
But always on someone's mind
This is Anna Livia
The river of Dublin
The river that's full of life
Life of Ireland
Maev Mac C.

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