The initial series of notes, called "Series A", was devised by the Currency Commission, these notes were printed by Waterlow and Sons, Limited, London which was acquired by De La Rue.
The commission created an advisory committee which determined the theme and design of the notes. Notes were in the denominations of 10/-, £1, £5, £10,£20, £50, and £100.
Each note has a portrait of an Irish colleen, believed to be Lady Lavery– wife of the artist Sir John Lavery,
who was commissioned to design this The predominant theme on the notes is the rivers of Ireland,
which aredepicted as heads taken from the Custom House, Dublin.
Whilst there was some uncertainty as to which rivers were depicted it is agreed that rivers in both the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland were chosen. Each note also contains a watermark of the Head of Erin.
Irish lady lavery & 'ploughman' series banknotes have always enjoyed a very strong following amongst collectors.
As with the coinage of Ireland, the advent of online outlets especially ebay, irish banknotes are now widely available to collectors internationally.
Bearing this in mind, & that Ireland is no longer issuing a seperate currency (coins & banknotes),
these banknotes (particularly the better examples) represent a sound investment as supply inevitably declines.
Irish Banknotes 1928-
Irish Currency Commission, 'Ploughman', Lady Lavery
& Later Banknote issues 1928 - 1977
Irish Currency Commission 'Ploughman' Banknotes 1929-1941 (Withdrawn in 1953)
The hugely collectable, almost enigmatic 'ploughman' series of irish banknotes represents one of the world's most sought after banknote types. These notes were issued as a transitional measure for eight banks ("Shareholding Banks" of the Currency Commission); Bank of Ireland, Hibernian Bank Limited, Munster & Leinster Bank Limited, National Bank Limited, Northern Bank Limited, Provincial Bank of Ireland Limited, Royal Bank of Ireland Limited and Ulster Bank Limited. These notes were issued, first, between May 6 and June 10 of 1929 under the arrangement that the banks withdraw previous notes they issued and refrained from issue of further notes. The consolidated notes were only issued by the Currency Commission and the last notes were printed in 1941, the notes were officially withdrawn on December 31, 1953.
Each note contained the common design of a man ploughing in a field with two horses on the front and they are often referred to as the "Ploughman Notes" because of this, the main differences were the name of the bank and its authorising signature. The notes denominations, and the back designs were; £1 (Custom House, Dublin), £5 (St. Patrick's Bridge, Cork), £10 (Currency Commission Building, Foster Place, Dublin), £20 (Rock of Cashel, County Tipperary), £50 (Croagh Patrick, County Mayo) and £100 (Killiney Bay, County Dublin).
Series 'B' Banknotes (1976- 82 & 1989-93)
This series introduced from 1976 onwards featured a range of
interesting designs of a celtic style & each banknote also features a famous
figure from Irish history or literature.
One Pound; Queen Meab (usually pronounced
meav/ in English) queen of Connacht
in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology.
Five Pounds: Johannes Scotus Eriugena
(ca. 815–877) (also Johannes Scotus Erigena,
Johannes Scottus Eriugena, John the Scot),
was an Irish theologian, Neoplatonist philosopher,
Ten Pounds: Jonathan Swift
Jonathan Swift (1667 –1745) was an Irish cleric,
political pamphleteer, and poet, famous for
works like Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal,
A Journal to Stella, The Drapier's Letters, The
Battle of the Books, and A Tale of a Tub. Swift is
probably the foremost prose satirist in the
English language, although he is less well known
for his poetry. Swift published all of his works
under pseudonyms — such as Lemuel Gulliver,
Isaac Bickerstaff, M.B. Drapier — or anonymously.
Twenty Pounds:WB Yeats William Butler Yeats (1865 –1939)
was an Irish poet, dramatist, mystic and public
figure, brother of the artist Jack Butler Yeats and
son of John Butler Yeats. He signed his works
W. B. Yeats. Yeats, though born to an Anglo-Irish
mother and father, was perhaps the primary
driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival
and was co-founder of the Abbey Theatre.
Yeats also served as an Irish Senator. He was
awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923
for what the Nobel Committee described as
"his always inspired poetry, which in a highly
artistic form gives expression to the spirit
of a whole nation".
The Blind Harpist Turlough O'Carolan, also called Terence
Carolan (born 1670, near Nobber, County Meath, Ireland, died March 25th, 1738, Alderford, County Roscommon), one of the last Irish harpist- composers and the only one whose songs survive in in significant number (about 220 of provable provenance are extant with an uncounted number apocryphally attributed collections.
Series 'C' Banknotes (1992-96 - 2000)
This series introduced in 1992 featured
Five Pounds: Catherine MsAuley
The Venerable Mother Catherine Elizabeth McAuley (1787- 1841) was an Irish nun, who founded the Sisters of Mercy in 1831. The Order has always been associated with teaching, especially in Ireland, where the nuns taught Catholics (and at times Protestants) at a time when education was mainly
reserved for members of the established Church of Ireland.
Ten Pounds :James Joyce
James Joyce (1882 – 1941) was an Irish writer and poet,
widely considered to be one of the most influential writers of
the 20th century. Along with Marcel Proust and Virginia Woolf,
he is a key figure in the development of the modernist novel.
He is best known for his landmark novel Ulysses (1922).
His other major works are the short story collection Dubliners
(1914) and the novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Finnegans Wake (1939).
(1775 – 1847) known as The Liberator or The Emancipator, Daniel O'Connell was Ireland's predominant political leader in the first half of the nineteenth century who championed the cause of the Catholic population. He campaigned successfully for Catholic Emancipation, achieved in 1829.
He is remembered in Ireland as the founder of a non-violent form of Irish nationalism and also for the mobilization of the Catholic community as a political force in order to achieve emancipation
Douglas Hyde (1860 – 1949) was an Anglo-Irish scholar of the Irish language who served as the first President of Ireland from 1938 to 1945. He founded the Gaelic League, one of the most influential cultural organisations in Ireland.
Charles Stewart Parnell
Charles Stewart Parnell (1846 – 1891) Irish political leader and one of the most important figures in 19th century Ireland and the United Kingdom; William Ewart Gladstone described him as the most remarkable person he had ever met. A future Liberal Prime Minister, Herbert Henry Asquith, described him as one of the three or four greatest men of the nineteenth century, while Lord Haldane described him as the strongest man the British House of Commons had seen in 150 years.
Hazel Lavery (1880 - 1935)
The Provinicial Bank of Ireland 'Ploughman' Five Pounds (1931)
The Bank of Ireland 'Ploughman' One Pound (1938)
The Higest denomination in the series, the £100 Banknote.