Before the Ha’penny Bridge was built there were seven ferries, operated by a William Walsh, across the Liffey. The ferries were in a bad condition and Walsh was informed that he had to either fix them or build a bridge.
Walsh chose the latter option and was granted the right to extract a ha’penny toll from anyone crossing it for 100 years. Initially the toll charge was based, not on the cost of construction, but to match the charges levied by the ferries it replaced.
A further condition of construction was that, if the citizens of Dublin found the bridge and toll to be “objectionable” within its ﬁrst year of operation, it was to be removed at no cost to the city.
The toll was increased for a time to a Penny Ha’penny (one and a half pence), but was eventually dropped in 1919. While the toll was in operation, there were turnstiles at either end the bridge.