Series B Banknotes

The Series B Banknotes (Irish: Nótaí bainc sraith B) of Ireland replaced the Series A Banknotes. The banknotes were issued between 1976 and 1982 by the Central Bank of Ireland, the series was replaced in 1993 by Series C Banknotes.


The Central Bank announced its intention for the new banknotes in December 1971 and Servicon, an Irish design company, was employed to design the notes of the denominations; £1, £5, £10, £20, £50 and £100. The £100 note was never issued or circulated; this remains somewhat of an idiosyncrasy in the issue of Irish banknotes as this is the only series without a note of this denomination.

The theme chosen for these notes was history of Ireland, and each note featured the portrait of a person with this theme in mind from a particular era from historic to modern and complementing visual elements. The female head painted by Sir John Lavery was retained from Series A; contained in the unprinted space. Each banknote has the signature of the Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland and the Secretary of the Department of Finance.

During much of the period of circulation of this series, foreign exchange controls prohibited the export of any notes larger than £20 from the Republic.

One Pound

The green one pound note had a portrait of Medb, the legendary Queen of Connacht in Irish mythology. Also a pre-Christian geometric design based on those found on bone slips is used in on the note, the background is an excerpt from the Táin.

The reverse had a decorated excerpt from Lebor na hUidre, the oldest surviving Irish manuscript, with some red in addition to the dominant green.

The dimension of the notes are 78.0 × 148.0 millimetres.

The one pound note was removed from circulation from June 1990 as it became replaced by the Irish pound coin, this note was the final one pound note to be circulated and it was the first note of Series B to be removed from circulation.

Five Pound

The orange five pound note had a portrait of Johannes Scotus Eriugena, the philosopher and theologian, of the ninth century. The letter A from the start of Psalm 17 of the Psalter of Ricemarcus is used against the Book of Durrow.

The reverse featured an adaptation of animal and script extracts from the Book of Kells, an eighth century copy of the gospels.

The dimension of the notes are 82.0 X 156.0 millimetres. In addition to the dominant orange, red and brown is used on both sides of the note.

Ten Pound

The purple ten pound had a portrait of Dean Jonathan Swift the poet and satirist. The background contains a reproduction of the coat of arms of Dublin from a city council resolution against a letter by Swift from April 1735.

The reverse had a portion of a map of Dublin which was published by John Rocque in 1756. Great Abbey Street and Astons Quay - now known as Middle Abbey Street and Aston Quay respectively are shown as well as the River Liffey.

The dimension of the notes are 86.0 X 164.0 millimetres. The note consists of shades of purple - three shades on the front and two on the back.

Twenty Pound

The blue twenty pound note had a portrait of William Butler Yeats, the poet, dramatist, and mystic together with a representation of the mythological hero Cú Chulainn, based on the motif used by the Abbey Theatre. The background is of a Deirdre, a Yeats manuscript.

The reverse had image the Blasket Islands, off County Kerry with the background of An tOileánach by Tomás Ó Criomhthain.

The dimension of the notes are 90.0 X 172.0 millimetres. The note consists of shades of blue - six shades on the front and four on the back.

Fifty Pound

The red-brown fifty pound note had a portrait of Turlough O'Carolan, the blind Irish harper and composer, with the background from Timbrell.

The reverse had a design based on the wood carvings on the organ loft of St. Michan's Church, Dublin.

The dimension of the notes are 94.0 X 180.0 millimetres. Using the red-brown colours it is set using five shades on the front and four on the back.

Hundred Pound

A Series B hundred pound note was never issued, the Series A £100 note remained in circulation. Although during the late 1970's some newspapers thought that there would A £100 note that would have been Mauve in Colour would have had Grace O'Malley on the front and The Galtee Mountains on the back.

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