In recent years, the only regular traffic on the river within the city is the Liffey Voyage water tour bus service, which runs guided tours along the River Liffey through Dublin City centre. Departing from the boardwalk downstream of the Ha'penny Bridge, the Spirit of the Docklands runs under O'Connell Bridge, Butt Bridge and the Talbot Memorial Bridge on a journey downstream, passing the Custom House before turning at the Grand Canal Basin and back up stream. Built by Westers Mekaniska in Sweden, this 50 passenger water taxi, has variable ballast tanks (not unlike a submarine) and an exceptionally low air draught which means that at low tide it can float high, but at high tide it can ride low and still pass smoothly below the Liffey Bridges.
Upstream from the city, at Chapelizod, the river is used by both university and Garda rowing clubs. The Liffey Descent canoeing event, held each year since 1960, covers a course from Straffan to Islandbridge.
Downstream of the East-Link bridge, the river is still mainly used for commercial and ferry traffic, with some recreational use also. High speed trips out the mouth of the Liffey are also available from Sea Safari.
Crossings further upriver include the Liffey Bridge at Celbridge, "The Bridge at 16" (a 19th century pedestrian suspension bridge at the K Club), and the Leinster Aqueduct - which carries the Grand Canal over the Liffey at Caragh.
The earliest stone bridge over the Liffey of which there is solid evidence was the Bridge of Dublin (on the site of the current Fr. Mathew Bridge), built by the Dominicans in 1428, which survived well into the 18th century. This bridge with four arches included various buildings such as a chapel, bakehouse and possibly an inn and replaced an earlier wooden bridge (Dubhghalls Bridge) on the same site. Island Bridge (a predecessor of the current bridge) was added in 1577. With the development of commercial Dublin in the 17th century, four new bridges were added between 1670 and 1684: Barrack, or Bloody Bridge, (the forerunner of the current Rory O'More Bridge), Essex Bridge (Grattan Bridge), Ormond Bridge (O'Donovan Rossa Bridge) and Arran Bridge. The oldest bridge still standing is the Mellows Bridge, (originally Queens Bridge) constructed in 1764 on the site of the Arran Bridge, which was destroyed by floods in 1763. The first iron bridge was the elegant Ha'penny Bridge built in 1816.
There are quays on the North bank and the South bank of the Liffey, extending from the weir at Islandbridge to Ringsend bridge over the river Dodder, just before the East Link Toll bridge.
Starting East to West, the quays on the Northern Bank are: Bridgewater, Wolfe Tone, Sarsfield, Ellis, Arran, Inns, Ormonde Upper, Ormonde Lower, Bachelors Walk, Eden, Custom House, and North Wall.
Starting East to West, the quays on the Southern Bank are: Victoria, Usher's Island, Usher's, Merchants, Wood, Essex, Wellington, Crampton, Aston, Burgh, George's, City, Sir John Rogerson's, and Great Britain.
FLOODING chaos spread from west to east last night after heavy rainfall brought water on the River Liffey to dangerously high levels.
Nov 30, 2009; New alert as floods spread to the east Grainne Cunningham and Niamh O'Donoghue FLOODING chaos spread from west to east last night...