Ireland Euro Coins
During the 1990s a rapid increase in foreign direct investment and generous
amounts of EU regional aid helped transform Ireland into the EU's fastest growing economy. The Irish had
traditionally been one of the most pro-European nations, unsurprising considering the large amounts of financial
assistance they received from Brussels. Please take a look at the Central
Bank of Ireland.
According to outside commentators, the final changeover to the euro in Ireland took place quickly and was
remarkably smooth. The cash changeover began on 1 January 2002, when euro notes and coin became legal tender.
ATM conversion had commenced overnight and about 85 per cent of ATMs were dispensing euro that day. The Central
Bank provided a cash exchange service at its Dame Street office and was the only bank in Ireland open on 1 January.
Demand for the service far outstripped expectations and by mid-morning a long queue had formed. Long queues became
the order of the day in the commercial banks during the following week also, as the general public displayed an
eagerness to exchange their Irish pound cash for euro. Within a week, almost 90 per cent of cash transactions were
being carried out in euro and the cash changeover was virtually complete for the general public.
The rapid switch to euro by the public meant that Irish cash flowed back to banks more quickly than anticipated.
Returning this cash to the Central Bank presented an even greater logistical challenge than the distribution of euro,
as it was difficult to predict when, where and in what quantities the Irish pound would be lodged to banks. Given
their greater value, precedence was given to the return of Irish pound notes and stories of bank branches being
cluttered with bags of Irish coin abound. The total value of Irish pound banknotes in circulation on 31 December 2001
was 4,343.8 million, while total coin was valued at 387.9 million. The withdrawal operation worked efficiently and
by 14 January 2002 some 56 per cent of the banknote circulation had been returned to the Central Bank. This figure
rose to 83.4 per cent by 9 February, when the Irish pound lost its legal tender status. Coin withdrawal was
noticeably slower, with some 45 per cent of the total value of coin withdrawn by 9 February.
The Irish euro coins share the same design by Jarlath Hayes, that of the harp, a traditional symbol for Ireland
since the Middle Ages, based on that of the Brian Boru harp, housed in Trinity College, Dublin. The same harp is
used as the official seals of the Taoiseach, and government ministers and the Official Seal of the President of
Ireland. The coins' design also features the 12 stars of the EU, the year of imprint and the Irish name for
Ireland, "EIRE", in the traditional Gaelic script.
The Irish 2 euro coin edge inscription
|The sequence "2 * *" repeated six times alternately upright and inverted|