Historical Irish Banknotes

Robert Ballagh – Designing the C Series Banknotes

To celebrate Culture Night 2020, we spoke to acclaimed artist and designer, Robert Ballagh, about his work on the “C” Series of Irish banknotes, which were in circulation between 1992 and 2002. This was the final series of Irish banknotes created by Central Bank of Ireland before the introduction of the euro. With a brief to celebrate key Irish modernisers of the previous century, Ballagh’s designs covered figures of significant cultural, political and sociological importance such as James Joyce, Daniel O’Connell and Catherine McAuley. Robert Ballagh brings us through his creative process for each design with anecdotes of his experience through this decade of iconic work.

(Ensure cookies are turned "on" to load the video below.)

The history of the Irish pound spans from the introduction of the Saorstát pound in 1927, to the changeover to euro banknotes and coin in 2002. For most of this period, the Irish pound had a fixed link to sterling. It was only in the 1970s that this link was seriously questioned when it failed to deliver price stability.

You can continue to exchange old Irish pound banknotes and coins into euro.

This following article "The Irish Pound: From Origins to EMU" (John Kelly, Central Bank of Ireland Spring Quarterly Bulletin, 2003) provides a brief overview of the pound's origins, before looking in more detail at the questioning of the sterling link and events leading up to Ireland joining the European Monetary System (EMS). The path to European Monetary Union (EMU) is followed in some detail. This covers practical preparations, assessment of benefits and costs and necessary changes in monetary policy instruments and legislation.

Finally, the article outlines how the completion of the changeover encompassed the huge tasks of printing and minting sufficient amounts of euro cash. Distribution to banks and retailers, and the withdrawal of the Irish pound is reviewed. The final changeover from the Irish pound to the euro was smooth and rapid.

The Irish Pound from Origins to EMU | pdf 721 KB

The Irish Pound

Prior to the advent of the euro there were three series of banknotes issued, “Series A”, “Series B” and “Series C”. Each series held legal tender status. A series of “Consolidated Banknotes" were also issued, however they did not hold the status of legal tender. Series A is known as the “Lady Lavery” Notes, commissioned by the Currency Commission. Series B was commissioned by the Central Bank of Ireland and featured Irish writers, artists and philosophers and Series C featured famous Irish historical figures.