1800-2001: Union and Independence

Explore coinage of the 19th and 20th centuries as Ireland first toiled under British rule, then marked independence with its own distinctive punt currency.


The disappearance of separate Irish coinage after the Act of Union and the growing use of banknotes at around the same time, heralded and new development in the story of money. For the next 100 years the only coins to circulate in Ireland were the standard coins of Britain.

1916-1921: The Independence era

The momentous events of the period 1916 to 1921 and the setting up of the Free State brought another chapter, with the issuing of a new coinage for a newly independent Ireland. Many of the designs, chosen by a committee under the chairmanship of W.B. Yeats, remained with us until 2001.

1971: Decimalisation

Another milestone was the move to decimalisation in 1971, when the Celtic designs provided by the artist Gabriel Hayes were accepted for the new twopence, penny and halfpenny.

2002: The Euro arrives

Finally our story is brought up to time with the arrival of the euro, which heralds in a new era and brings this brief account of Ireland's coins and currency to an end.