Rialto is reputed to have adopted its name when Henry Roche got the contract to build a bridge over the original portion of the Grand Canal, ( which now forms part of the Luas Red Line), just south of what is now St James’s Hospital. This section was built for freight transport to and from the nearby Guinness Brewery at St James’s Gate. His design at the time was compared to the Ponte de Rialto in Venice and given that few had seen the original, the name stuck. Rialto spread south until it came to encompass a rough triangle – bordered to the north by the hospital and to the south by the Grand Canal extension.
The area has long connections to the brewing industry. With the original canal serving the Guinness brewery, much of Rialto Street, Rialto Cottages and nearby housing and were built to house Guinness employees at the tail end of the 19th century. These developments gave the area a redbrick character which it keeps to this day.
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