Father Mathew Bridge is a road bridge spanning the River Liffey in Dublin, Ireland and joining Merchants Quay to Church Street and the north quays. It is approximately on the site of the original, and for many years only, Bridge of Dublin, dating back to the 1000s.
The site of the bridge is understood to be close to the ancient "Ford of the Hurdles", which was the original crossing point on the Liffey and gives its name (in Irish) to the city of Dublin.
At the turn of the first millennium (c.1014), the first recorded Dublin Liffey bridge was built at this point. Possibly known as the Bridge of Dubhghall, this basic wooden structure was maintained and rebuilt over several centuries (from early Medieval to Viking to Norman times).
These rebuilds included a Norman bridge (sanctioned by King John) in the early 13th century. This collapsed however in the late 14th century and in 1428, the Dominicans of Ostmantown Friary built the first masonry bridge in Dublin on the same spot. Known as Dublin Bridge, Old Bridge, or simply The Bridge, this four arch structure had towers at either end, and shops, housing, an inn and a chapel were built on its supports.
For much of its 390-year life span, The Bridge carried all pedestrian, livestock and horse-drawn traffic across the river, and (as late as 1762) its tolls and chapel were still in use.
At the beginning of the 19th century, Dublin Bridge was replaced by a three-span, elliptical arch stone bridge. Designed by George Knowles, the bridge was opened in 1818 as Whitworth Bridge, for Charles, Earl of Whitworth, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
As with many other Dublin bridges (particularly those named for British peers), the bridge was renamed following independence by the Free State as Dublin Bridge in 1923.