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Bicentenary of Dublin’s Ha’penny Bridge

Posted: 19 May, 2016

Like the famous Ha’penny Bridge, DIT spans both sides of Dublin City but there is another connection between the two institutions.

In 2001, the famous bridge was in need of significant restoration and was closed to the public while this was carried out.  While a team from Harland & Wolff Shipbuilders in Belfast was commissioned to construct new bridge decks, a team of researchers from CREST – the Centre for Research in Engineering Surface Technology in DIT – were consulted on the coating operations involved.  CREST was originally established as the Coatings Research Centre by Enterprise Ireland and subsequently moved to DIT.  In 1995, its researchers were involved in the restoration of the Turner Curvilinear Greenhouse in Dublin’s Botanic Gardens.

The CREST team members involved in the restoration of the bridge were Jim Murphy, Helen McAuliffe, Paul Quinn and John Colreavy. They provided consultation and supervision of all painting operations. The polyurethane paint system was supplied by General Paints of Celbridge, an indigenous Irish paint manufacturer. A laboratory evaluation programme confirmed the high performance capability of the system and identified incompatibilities between some of the additional materials being specified for which suitable alternatives were found. Supervision duties took team members into Harland & Wolff Shipbuilders in the heart of Belfast where the new bridge decks were constructed and painted. They also spent time at the site works of Gabriel Hughes Paint Contractors in Co Tyrone making sure the refurbishment of the railings went according to plan. They spent many late nights supervising the refurbishment of the bridge trusses which remained on-site back in Dublin. The project was considered an overwhelming success and was awarded a European Restoration Bronze Medal (Nostrada) in September 2003.

Now the Ha'penny Bridge celebrates its 200th anniversary and DIT CREST is proud to have played a significant part in protecting this beloved Dublin institution for the next 100 years.

Click here for information about the restoration process