Industrious in tone, yet with an eye pleasing sleek and slender presence, the Talbot Memorial Bridge crosses the Liffey from Custom House Quay and Memorial Road on the north side to City Quay and Moss Street on the south side.
Designed by the Irish firm De Leuw, Chadwick and O hEocha, it is a perfect fit for the area, drawing little attention to itself, simply allowing the character of the surrounding quays to shine through. Built at a time of economic struggle and competing claims on limited resources, the bridge was deemed necessary to ease the chronic citywide traffic congestion of the time. When built it was the most easterly of the Liffey bridges and, it was estimated, the cost of €1.05 million was recouped within two years in savings on travel costs and times.
Construction work began in June 1976 much to the bemusement of modern Dubliners who had never witnessed the building of a new city bridge across the Liffey. Such was its entertainment value that it merited regular mentions on the airwaves: ‘Exactly what are those things in the river?’ was a frequently asked question. The answer was that they were ‘cofferdams’. There was an anxious moment during construction when a Guinness barge, the Lady Miranda, broke loose from its moorings and hit a pier of the uncompleted bridge. The city heaved a collective sigh of relief when divers pronounced the damage superficial.
The Talbot Memorial Bridge is a three span structure, the central span being the longest at 34 metres and its appearance, though of concrete, is softened by a surface dusting of granite particles. The four lane road bridge, with pedestrian paths, was opened on St. Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1978. Though primarily a work-a-day bridge, Dubliners and visitors greatly appreciate the linear, riverside walking spaces, the views through the Liffey corridor and the eclectic mix of old and new architecture to the east and west of the Talbot Memorial Bridge.