Series A Banknotes

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The Series A Banknotes (Irish: Nótaí bainc sraith A) were introduced by the Irish Free State in 1928 and were the first banknotes created by and for the state; the series continued to be issued when the Free State became Ireland. The notes served from 1928 to 1977 and were replaced by Series B notes.


The Currency Commission of the Irish Free State prescribed the design of the notes and received advice from an advisory commission. Waterlow and Sons, Limited, London printed the notes on behalf of the commission. The series consists of seven notes.

The predominant theme on the notes is the rivers of Ireland which are depicted as heads taken from the Custom House in Dublin. Rivers in both the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland were chosen and there is some uncertainty as to what rivers were chosen on particular denominations.

The Currency Commission notes were printed with Currency Commission/Coimisiún Airgid Reatha and Irish Free State/Saorstát Éireann with facsimiles of the signatures of the Chairman of the Currency Commission/Cathaoirleach Choimisiúin an Airgid Reatha and of the Secretary of the Department of Finance/Rúnaí na Roinne Airgid. When the Constitution of Ireland had legal effect Ireland was substituted for Irish Free State, Éire for Saorstát Éireann.

In 1943 additional changes were made when the Central Bank Act 1942 gave legal effect. The Currency Commission was replaced with Central Bank of Ireland/Banc Ceannais na hÉireann on the notes and the signature of the chairman was replaced with that of Governor/An Ghobharnóir.

Banknotes produced during the Second World War were overprinted with different letters so that particular batches could be identified and removed from circulation if they were lost in transit between the printers in Britain and Dublin. Notes issued on and from 1961 no longer bore the promise of exchange in London. In 1971 the £1, £5 and £10 received the addition of a metal security thread.

Each note has a portrait of a woman on the obverse, believed to be Lady Lavery – wife of the artist Sir John Lavery, who was commissioned to design this feature. The watermark present in the 10 shilling and £5 note is of the "Head of Erin", which is derived from the John Hogan statue.[1] While the watermark in the £1 is a duplicate of lady Lavery herself.

Series A (1928–1977)
Image Value Dimensions
Main Colour Reverse Design Issued Withdrawn
CBI - SERIES A - TEN SHILLING NOTE.PNG[2] 10s 78 × 138 Orange River Blackwater in Munster. 10 September 1928 6 June 1968[3]
CBI - SERIES A - ONE POUND NOTE.PNG £1 84 × 151 Green River Lee (uncertain) 10 September 1928 30 September 1976
CBI - SERIES A - FIVE POUND NOTE.PNG £5 92 × 165 Brown River Lagan 10 September 1928 5 September 1975
CBI - SERIES A - TEN POUND NOTE.PNG £10 108 × 191 Blue River Bann 10 September 1928 2 December 1976
CBI - SERIES A - TWENTY POUND NOTE.PNG £20 114 × 203 Red River Boyne 10 September 1928 24 March 1976
CBI - SERIES A - FIFTY POUND NOTE.PNG £50 114 × 203 Mauve River Lee or River Shannon 10 September 1928 4 April 1977
CBI - SERIES A - HUNDRED POUND NOTE.PNG £100 114 × 203 Olive River Shannon or River Erne 10 September 1928 4 April 1977*
* Note instead of a Series B Banknotes £100 note the Series A Banknotes stayed been used until Series C Banknotes.


  1. ^ watermark Head of Erin. It is an female allegory of Ireland from the sculpture by John Hogan (1800 - 1858), which can be seen in the National Museum.
  2. ^ See also: Irish ten shilling coin
  3. ^ The printing of this note ceased earlier than the rest of the series in preparation for decimalisation, which saw the note replaced by a 50 pence coin.

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