On Thursday the daughter of the Late John Randal Beresford Ash, Melanie Cunningham, was in Dublin to help the city celebrate a unique milestone.
It was the 200th anniversary of the Ha’penny bridge, which was commissioned by one of her ancestors, Claudius Beresford.
The red carpet was rolled out as Melanie, accompanied by David Windsor, a descendant of John Windsor who designed the enchanting pedestrian bridge, crossed the Liffey footway with the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Críona Ní Dhálaigh and John Flanagan of Dublin City Council.
The Ha’penny Bridge was Dublin’s first pedestrian bridge over the Liffey and connected Merchant’s Arch on the south side with Liffey Street on the north.
The ceremonial crossing was one of a number of events to take place in the city marking the bi-centenary of the bridge, which has an estimated 30,000 pedestrians every day using it to cross the River Liffey.
Melanie Cunningham, speaking on behalf of the Beresford connection, said: “I am delighted to attend the 200th anniversary of the Ha’penny Bridge Dublin. It is great for our family to be part of this wonderful occasion.”
The Ha’penny Bridge was erected in 1816 to replace ferries which brought Dubliners across the River Liffey.
It was reportedly the first cast iron metal bridge in Ireland and was cast in Coalbrookdale in Shropshire, England. Pedestrians paid a toll of a ha’penny to ensure a safe crossing which matched the charges levied by the ferries.
The toll was eventually dropped in 1919. The bridge was the only pedestrian bridge on the River Liffey for 184 years, until the Millennium Bridge was opened in 2000.