Irish Paper Money

Irish Banknotes and Paper Money

As any currency collector or numismatic knows, money is literally a wealth of information. It offers rich insight into a country or region’s social and political history and cultural values. Ireland’s history of minting their own coinage and banknote currency for legal tender and as limited editions is no exception.

What Currencies Have Been Issued in Ireland as Legal Tender?

Bank notes have been produced in Ireland as legal tender since the since the late 1700s. Minting of notes by various banks has continued through periods, such as the "troubles," or the partitioning of into the Irish Free State or Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in the early twentieth century.

  • Paper notes have come in the Irish Pound, the Pound Sterling, and Euro. Originally, Irish notes were issued in notes of one pound and 30 shillings. Later denominations of note issue included one, three, five, ten, twenty, fifty and one hundred pound notes.
  • The value of the Irish pound was on an equal footing with the British pound through most of its history. However, while British pound notes could serve as legal tender in Eire, Irish pound notes were not accepted in Britain.

What Banks Issued Irish Pound Paper Notes?

The Irish pound was legal tender in Ireland until the introduction of the Euro replaced it. There are three main historical issue periods and a number of issuing banks and features to look for if you are buying or selling or Irish pounds:

  • 1783-1928: old Irish banknotes were issued by eight to ten banks before the partition. These included the Bank of Ireland, The National Bank, Belfast Bank, Northern Bank, Provincial Bank, Ulster Bank, The Hibernian Bank and the Agricultural and Commercial Bank (later split into The Southern Bank of Ireland and the Provident Bank of Ireland).
  • 1928-2001: the Republic of Ireland began minting Irish currency, known as the Saorstat pound.
    • Three series of banknotes from this period are popular collectibles. Series A (1928-1977) were known as the Lady Lavery notes. Series B (1976-1993) depicts Irish artists, philosophers, and writers. Series C (1992-200 ) features historical figures from Ireland.
    • Consolidated Banknotes, printed by the Currency Commission of Ireland (1929-1941) are known as the Ploughman notes due to the images of a farmer plowing a field on each denomination.
  • 1928-1999: in Northern Ireland, six banks issued their own notes through this period. These included The Bank of Ireland, The National Bank, The Ulster Bank, The Northern Bank, The Belfast Banking Company and the Provisional Bank of Ireland.

Who Issues Irish Paper Money today?

Institutions in Ireland issuing Euro notes today include The Central Bank of Ireland in the Republic of Ireland, and the Bank of Ireland, Danske Bank, First Trust Bank and Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland.