An old Irish pound note makes a bit of money in Jersey - reminising and fun with the exchange rate

An Irish Punt / Pound in old money (Photo: Jim Lowney)
An Irish Punt / Pound in old money (Photo: Jim Lowney)

Going through the old dresser that is an extension of my desk of sorts, I discovered an old one punt note the other morning. No idea how long it’s been there, nor do I recall from where it came. They haven’t been made for more than twenty years, at least a decade before the euro.

So, I did what everyone today would do. I took a picture of it and posted on Facebook.

In minutes, I got a “like” from The Blackthorn Parsippany.

Then Gillespie in Parsippany writes “The Blackthorn Kenilworth accepts those.”

“What’s today’s exchange,” I asked in jest.

Haverty, a man from Galway in Elizabeth, chimes in “it’s probably worth more than the euro.”

The Mayo man in Parsippany writes he’s calling Rattigan, from Galway, for the current exchange.

“I'll never stretch a pint out of it, after Rattigan takes his cut,” I replied.

Haverty writes back it is worth 1.27 euros and 1.69 USD.

What brilliant fun with a simple old pound note found in an old dresser. And Haverty is happily making up numbers.

Curious, I searched “Irish punt” looking to see when the notes finished their service.

I clearly remember them as child falling from birthday cards from Granny in Mayo to be used for the next summer trip to Ireland. And they were stuffed wrinkled in my jeans during my first wanderings around Eire on my own as a young man. One note and a few coins were good for a pint.

When I lived in Dublin, it was mostly pound coins and the “new” notes of the early 1990s, starting with the fiver. One pound notes were almost no more.

The redesigned money back then actually led to one of my favorite assignments as a news photographer in Ireland. I got to meet and photograph the amazing Irish artist Robert Ballagh. What a gentleman of great talent and brilliant thoughts.

I can still see his striking drawing of James Joyce on the 10 pound note and can almost fill the crispness of the bill in my hand.

Those old negatives of him have to be somewhere in the boxes of files. There is a book of Irish images in those boxes I’ll get to someday.

What was most surprising is that the Irish punt still has an actual exchange rate. The one I found on the internet wasn’t as good as Haverty’s rate.

Doesn’t matter though, I am not parting with my new found old pound.

It’ll look good framed on the wall here in New Jersey.

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