Epic mail: The best and worst Irish stamps issued over the years
Life & Style

Epic mail: The best and worst Irish stamps issued over the years

POSTAGE stamps aren’t just small bits of paper used to ensure your mail gets delivered – they’re also commemorative symbols, political emblems and historic relics.

When the Irish Free State was established in 1922, the Irish Government defiantly printed Irish text over British stamps until they were able to print their own.

The first ever Irish stamps were issued later that year by the Department of Posts and Telegraphs – with designs featuring patriotic symbols of the Emerald Isle.

Commemorative stamps first appeared in 1929, and these now appear several times a year, celebrating many aspects of Irish life, such as notable events and anniversaries, Irish life and culture, and famous Irish faces.

Here are some of the best and worst Irish stamps issued over the years…


Historic stamps

British propaganda stamps issued during WW1 before Ireland gained independence. Picture: An Post


This, Ireland's first ever stamp as an independent country, was issued in December 1922. Picture: An Post



One example of the Irish Free State printing over British stamps in 1922. Picture: An Post


A Union Jack is visible in this printed-over British stamp. Picture: An Post


King George V's head was printed over with Irish text. Picture: An Post


Ireland's first ever commemorative stamp on the 100th birthday of Irish suffragette Anna Haslam. Picture: An Post

Commemorative stamps

Two stamps issued to commemorate the 50th anniversary of JFK's death in 1963. Picture: An Post


A 1999 stamp issued to commemorate the hurling 'team of the century' led by Christy Ring. Picture: An Post


Stamps issued to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Dracula writer Bram Stoker's death in 1912. Picture: An Post



Two commemorative stamps issued on the centenary of 1915's Lusitania sinking off the coast of Cork. Picture: An Post


Commemorative stamp to the Irish Volunteers 100 years on from 1913. Picture: An Post


Commemorative stamps to the works of Irish writers Oscar Wilde and Jonathan Swift. Picture: An Post


Easter Rising stamps issued last year included this commemoration to rebel martyr Roger Casement. Picture: An Post


One-off stamps

A stamp issued in 2015 celebrating Irish animation. Picture: An Post


Salmon of Knowledge: A 2012 stamp issued to celebrate Ireland's myths and legends. Picture: An Post


Pet stamps have proved popular. Picture: An Post


Stamps have also been issued to celebrate Ireland's favourite games. Picture: An Post


Too far? Ireland's first emoji stamps were released in February. Picture: An Post



An Post's stamp collections can be viewed at their website here.