Connection: Macken Street – Guild Street.
Commissioner: Dublin City Council.
Architect: Santiago Calatrava.
Contractor: Graham (Belfast) Hollandia (Rotterdam) Joint Venture.
Bridges should always be magnificent. They should be designed to become iconic landmarks, representing the possibilities brought on by the connection of two sides. Plans for a bridge across the Liffey from Sir John Rogerson’s Quay to the North Wall have been in motion at least since a 1939 proposal by Abercrombie, Kelly & Robertson. With the ongoing success of the Docklands during the 1990s, so came increasing demand for a new Liffey crossing at Macken Street, about halfway between the Sean O’Casey pedestrian bridge and the East Link
Dublin City Council subsequently commissioned world-renowned Catalan architect Santiago Calatrava Valls to create the new bridge. It was the Zurich-based designers second bridge on the Liffey; he built the James Joyce Bridge further upstream.
The 120 metre cable-stayed bridge has a curved, inclined steel pylon, leaning northwards, which gives it the dramatic appearance of a harp lying on it’s side. This pylon houses a rotation mechanism that allows the structure to open for maritime traffic. The bridge has four traffic lanes with cycle tracks and footpaths on either side of the bridge and goes a long way to opening up the Spencer Dock area.
The bridge is named for the Nobel Prize-winning Dublin-born playwright Samuel Beckett whose uncle was responsible for building many of the terraced houses in the South Lotts.