George Halpin was born in 1779. He joined the Ballast Board as Inspector of Works in 1800. This board was part of Dublin Corporation and was responsible for preserving and improving the Port of Dublin. He was responsible for the design, construction and maintenance of all works from Sutton on the north side to Bullock Harbour on the south side and upriver to Islandbridge.
Halpin oversaw the design and construction of O’Donovan Rossa (1813) and Father Mathew (1816) bridges and undertook numerous works on other bridges including repairs to Mellows Bridge and remodelling the central span of Grattan Bridge. He was also responsible for building Rory O’More bridge in 1859 and the North Bull Wall, which resulted in the formation of Bull Island. Halpin also completely rebuilt the quay walls of the Liffey on both sides, stretching from O’Connell Bridge in the east to Rory O’More Bridge in the west.
In 1810, in addition to his other duties, he was appointed Inspector of Lighthouses for the whole country. Over the following 44 years, he was responsible for constructing 53 new lighthouses and re-building another 15. During this period he also formalized the administrative management and procedures of the lighthouse service. His son, George Halpin, junior, joined him in 1839 as his assistant. He died suddenly in 1854 and was succeeded by his son.