This time of year, everybody is Irish! But what’s that really mean? While many of us picture Ireland with quaint pubs, ornate chapels, and busy cobblestone streets, the most idyllic scenes in Ireland are found in the countryside. It’s there you’ll find Irish wolfhounds trotting alongside horse-drawn carriages, cows grazing in a field, birds flying, and flowers blossoming all around. Well, it seems that Irish coin producers want to capture those bucolic images. Because the best in Irish coinage features designs drawn straight from the Irish countryside.
Dogs are man’s best friend, no matter their country. And the Irish wolfhound is by far the most Irish dog to ever live. These gentle giants are still popular favorites among dog breeders today. Perhaps that’s why the Irish wolfhound was chosen for the reverse design of the popular sixpence from 1928 to 1969. Just like all of the circulated coins on this list, the obverse design seen on this sixpence is the Irish harp, which is the national symbol of Ireland. Also like the rest of the circulated coins on this list, the Irish sixpence was issued by the Republic of Ireland.
The design featured on the five-pence coin has a long history in Irish coinage. From 1928 to 1968, a 12-shilling coin was minted. The coin featured a standard Irish harp design on the obverse and a charging bull design on the reverse. In 1969, the Irish currency system changed to pence instead of shillings. But instead of retiring the beloved design of the 12-shilling coin, it was used in the 5p coin from 1969 to 2000. It’s no wonder the bull was chosen for the coin; cattle are an important part of Irish agriculture.
While some may feel we no longer need the one-cent coin, the Irish penny is undeniably charming. Though other versions of the Irish penny have been minted, the design from 1971–2000 is the most quintessentially Irish. The reverse side of the coin features a gorgeous and unique Celtic design of a bird. The obverse side of the coin depicts, again, the Irish harp.
£1 Silver Piedfort Coin
The only uncirculated bullion coin on our list is the £1 Silver Piedfort. It’s a simply gorgeous Irish coin. On the obverse of this coin is a sweet floral design, while the reverse side features a portrait of the queen of England. The same design can be found on last year’s £1 Northern Ireland Floral Gold Coin. The United Kingdom’s Royal Mint minted both of these coins.
Like this? Read The Most Coveted Coins of the New Year.
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