Originally the Carlisle Bridge stood here of which construction was completed in 1794 and was design of James Gandon. In the mid to late 1800’s it was decided to widen the bridge due to traffic congestion. It was claimed that O'Connell Bridge is unique in Europe as the only traffic bridge wider than it is long. The western keystone is of Anna Livia (the River Liffey) and the eastern is of the Atlantic Ocean. On August 6th 1880, the newly rebuilt bridge formally opens and is renamed O’Connell Bridge.
Arthur Fields born in 1901 was a Ukrainian photographer, who took more than 180,000 photos of people on the southern end of O'Connell Bridge over a fifth year 50 period from the early 1930s until 1985. His exhibit is entitled Man On Bridge: 50 Years as a Photographer on O’Connell Bridge.
O’Connell is often referred to as the Emancipator or the Liberator. During the early 19th century O’Connell was an Irish political leader who campaigned for the rights of Catholics to be represented by holding seats in the Westminster parliament. When O’ O'Connell died he burial wishes were specific. His body is buried in Dublin’s Glasnevin cemetery while his heart is buried in Rome.