Queen Medb Banknote

Queen Medb

“Great indeed was the strength and power that Medb over the men of Ireland, for she would not allow a king in Tara without his hating herself as a wife…”

As early as 1971, the Central Bank of Ireland announced its intention to produce new banknotes to replace the long-lived Lady Lavery issue which has been printed by the Bank of England and had been in circulation since 1928. They commissioned the design phase to Servicon, an Irish design company, to design the notes focused on the history of the country – tracing from the Pre-Christian era to the twentieth century.

Issue in 1977, the ‘B Series’ one pound note was the last to be circulated before being replaced in 1989 by the one pound coin (and subsequently the euro following Ireland joining the European Union after a three-year transitional period).

The green one pound note features a portrait of Medb, otherwise known as Maeve, the legendary Queen of Connacht in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology, and geometric designs based on archaeological artifacts (bone slips) and excerpts from the Táin – a book of Irish mythology that Medb. The reverse side features a decorated excerpt from Lebor na hUidre – the oldest surviving Irish manuscript.