Historical Irish Banknotes

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.

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 717 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.

Series A (1928 - 1975/77)

Series B (1976/82 - 1989/93)

Series C (1992/96 - 2000)