Airgead Páipear na hÉireann - Irish Paper Money


By February, 2002 the Irish Punt was discontinued and replaced with the European currency called the Euro. The banknotes shown below have now passed into history. If you have saved any of them, you might want to hold them as a keepsake.

The banknotes were put into circulation from 1992 to 1996. They are the last banknotes with Irish historical figures that will ever be released.

Citizens waiting to change punts into euros at
Banc Ceannais na hÉireann - Bank of Ireland

£5 Catherine McAuley (1778-1841), foundress of the Sisters of Mercy.
£10 James Joyce (1882 - 1941), poet, author of Ulysses, Finnegan's wake.
£20 Daniel O'Connell (1775-1847), the liberator, mayor of Dublin.
£50 Douglas Hyde (1860-1949), first President of Ireland.
£100 Charles Stewart Parnell (1846 - 1891), author of 1886 declaration.

These banknotes were designed by Robert Ballagh, one of Ireland's foremost artists, whose work has received international acclaim. The Central Bank of Ireland introduced them from 1992 to 1996. This was because the old Irish notes were too easy to forge and they were large and inconvenient. The theme of the series is centered on the 19th and early 20th centuries - the era in which modern Ireland was formed.

Nota cuig phunt - £5 Note - Aibheán (April), 1994
Catherine McAuley ata ar aghaidh an nota.
This side depicts Mother Catherine McAuley foundress of the Sisters of Mercy. My wife was a member of her religious community until 1980 in Dallas, Pennsylvania.

Behind her is Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Dublin, Ireland

     
Dan ata ar dhroim an nota.
The poem in Irish on the blackboard reads:

Is Mise Raifterí an file,
Lán dóchais is grádh,
Le súilibh gan solas,
Le ciúnas gan cr/adh.
      I'm Raftery the poet
Full of hope and love
with eyes without light
And silence without sorrow

Nota deich bPunt - £10 Note - Meán Fómhair (September) 1993
James Joyce ar aghaidh an nota.

The front of the £10 note features James Joyce, the Irish poet. Behind him is view of Dublin city. I cannot myself distinguish the view in the rear.
     
Finnegan's Wake ar dhroim an nota.
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The head represents the river Liffey. The opening lines of Finnegans Wake are overlaid on part of a 19th century map of Dublin. Finnegan's wake begins as follows:

   "Riverrun past Eve and Adam, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs."

Nota Fiche Punt - £20 Note - Samhain (November), 1992
Daniel O'Connell ar aghaidh an nota.

The front of the £20 note carries a portrait of Daniel O'Connell based on a mezzotint by John Gubbins which is held in the National Gallery of Ireland. The portrait is set against a contemporary landscape drawing of Derrynane Abbey, Co. Kerry, the original of which is held by the National Library.

     
Pledge of 1845 ar dhroim an nota.

The back of the note bears a pledge signed in 1845 by O'Connell and others and now held in the National Gallery of Ireland. In the foreground is a drawing of the Four Courts, the original of which is held by the National Library.

Nota Caoga Punt - £50 Note - Samhain (November) 1995

Douglas Hyde ar aghaidh an nota.

The front of the £50 note features a portrait of Douglas Hyde (1860-1949), first President of Ireland, by Robert Ballagh. In the background is a drawing of Áras an Uachtaráin which is set against a design from the interior of the base of the Ardagh Chalice.
     
Piobaire (a piper) ar dhroim an nota.

note features a piper and the crest of Conradh na Gaeilge overlaid on a 16th century manuscript from the collection of the Royal Irish Academy.

Nota Céad Punt - £100 Note - Meán Fómhair (September) 1996
Charles Stewart Parnell ar aghaidh an nota.

In the background is a view of Avondale House and gardens, Rathdrum, County Wicklow, the home of Parnell. A hound appears in the foreground.
     
Parnell monument ar dhroim an nota.

This is the Parnell monument located in O'Connell Street, Dublin. It includes the statue, the torch, and metal work bearing the names of the four provinces. These are set against a background of a section of the declaration made by Parnell in 1886 in response to the introduction of the proposed Home Rule Bill and which also appears on the monument.


Irish Punts bailed for destruction.
Courtesy of Vivian & Jack November, 2003
Background music: Parting Glass sequnced by Frank Lennon