September 24, 2022

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There are few more visible examples of a country’s sovereignty than the ability to issue its own stamps.

The first stamps produced by the Irish Free State were simply the old British one with the words “Saorstát Éireann” printed over them.

The first actual stamp issued by the Irish Free State, in March 1922, was the twopenny green showing a map of Ireland, designed by James Ingram.

To mark a centenary of Irish stamps, An Post has announced the release of the Art on a Stamp series, which showcases the artwork of eight Irish artists and designers who have featured on stamps in the 100 years since the foundation of the State.

Many of the featured artists are household names such as Orla Kiely, Maser, Philip Treacy, Robert Ballagh, Harry Clarke, Amanda Coogan and Paul Henry.

“We are delighted to showcase the outstanding work of Irish artists whose work has adorned Irish stamps over the past 100 years,” An Post chief executive David McRedmond said.

Coogan said it was “a very proud moment” when her work The Fall was selected in 2013 to appear on a stamp and that she was honoured to have it featured as part of the centenary series.

“Throughout Irish history, art has been an important vehicle for conveying key moments in our culture,” she said.

“Contemporary visual art reflects the culture of the present and offers everyone the opportunity to reimagine the known and familiar and to reconsider the way in which we perceive things. It is not merely about making beautiful objects but about inviting us to stop and think. This Art on a Stamp series encourages us all to do this.”

This phase of the Art on a Stamp collection features Ingram’s design from 1922, Peter Wildbur (1971), Louis Le Brocquy (1973), Patrick Scott (1973), Ballagh (1983), Nano Reid (2005), Clarke (2006), Henry (2008), Kiely (2010), Treacy (2010), Coogan (2013), Alice Maher (2014), Fin DAC (2017) and Maser (2017). Three further phases are to follow over the coming years.

The stamp series is available in post offices nationwide and via anpost.com/shop.

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