A life on the LIffey

22 Apr

The River Liffey  which in Irish means a Life is a river in Ireland that flows through the center of Dublin. Its splits off into many subrivers that include the River Dodder, the River Poddle and the River Camac. The river supplies much of Dublin’s water supply, and as well as a range of recreational opportunities. The river was once named An Ruirthech, meaning “fast  or strong runner”. The word Liphe  or life (for which the river is named) talks about  the original name of the plain through which the river ran, but eventually came to refer to the river itself. It was also known as the Anna Liffey, possibly from an Anglicization of Abhainn na Life, the Irish phrase that translates into English as River Liffey.

Around 60% of the Liffey’s flow is abstracted for drinking water, and to supply industry. Much of this makes its way back into the river after purification in wastewater treatment plants. A popular myth is that Liffey water is used to brew Guinness but this is not true as Guinness uses water piped from the Wicklow mountains.

Dividing the Northside of Dublin from the Southside, the Liffey is today spanned by numerous bridges, mostly open to traffic. The most notable are the West-Link Bridge on the M50 motorway, the Seán Heuston Bridge and O’Connell Bridge. There are 3 foot-bridges in the city: the Millennium Bridge, the Seán O’Casey Bridge and the Ha’penny Bridge. In December 2009, the new Samuel Beckett Bridge opened. between the Seán O’Casey Bridge and the East Link Bridge, It was designed by Santiago Calatrava Valls, who also designed the James Joyce Bridge that spans the Liffey. The Samuel Beckett Bridge takes both road and pedestrian traffic and in the future it may also take rail traffic.

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