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Introduction to Irish Papermoney Issues

British Rule

The island of Ireland was ruled by the British until 1921.
By 1835 a system of Joint Stock banks had been established which provided a stable paper money circulation for the country. The Irish Pound, previously a separate currency, had been assimilated into the British Pound Sterling in 1826 with the of Currency Act 1825, following on from the Act of Union in 1801, which had abolished the Irish Parliament. The background governing the issue of money in Ireland after 1835 can be read on the Bank of England's website.

During British rule a great variety of banknotes circulated in Ireland. Six banks had the right of note issue, and English currency circulated also.

Banks were required to state the branch of payment on each note. This lead to all the branches being stated on each note around 1852, thus making them payable at every branch, an innivation introduced first by Bank of Ireland on its notes. These multibranch General Issue notes add great interest for collectors.

After the Irish War of Independance a treaty was signed with the British in 1921 which provided for the partitioning of the island into the Irish Free State, which later became the Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland which remained a part of Britain. Paper Money issues were also split into two jurisdictions.

Irish Free State era 1922–1927

The Irish Free State became independant on December 6th 1921. In 1927 it was decided, by the Currency Act 1927, to create an Issuing Authority, the Currency Commission Ireland to govern the issue of a new currency for the new state.

Around this time, banknotes became smaller and more modern in design, and the requirement to list the branch of payment on each note was removed, with just the Head Office location (Dublin, and for some banks also Belfast) being required to be stated on each the note. Thus, branches disappeared from the notes.

Currency Commission era 1928–1942

The first new issue of banknotes commenced in 1928
A Series Legal Tender Notes
, were issued in seven denominations, 10 Shillings, £1, £5, £10, £20, £50, £100. Each of the denominations appeared with the first date of issue, 10.9.28

The second new issue of banknotes commenced in 1929
Consolidated Banknotes (known as Ploughman notes) were issued by all of the eight joint stock commercial banks operating within the Irish Free State, and served to replace the notes issued by the commercial banks which had circulated in the Irish Free State before this. All denominations for each bank appeared with the first date, 6.5.29.

Central Bank era 1928–1942

In 1943 The Currency Commission was transformed into a new authority by the Central Bank Act 1943, The Central Bank of Ireland. The Consolidated note issue was terminated and the Central Bank became the sole banknote issuer in the Republic of Ireland. A Series notes continued to circulate under the new authority as the only banknotes issued in the Republic of Ireland.

Modern B Series and C Series notes

In 1976 The Central Bank of Ireland commenced the issue of more modern reduced sized B Series notes which were phased in to replace the A Series over a period of four years. The One Pound note was replaced by a coin in 1989.

1992 then saw the introduction of the C Series, again to take advantage of more modern production methids and security features. Banknote sizes were forther reduced for each of the denominations

Last update 29.03.15