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Banknotes of the Irish Private Banks
ca1670-ca1836

Private Banknote issues in Ireland

There were well over a hundred note-issuing Private banks. Almost all of the known banknote issues of the Irish private banks date from the 1797 to 1836 period, with a few rare exceptions dating from the early 1700s.

The suspension of cash payments on 27 February 1797, when paper currency ceased to be payable in gold due to England’s need for gold to finance its wars on the continent, gave a boost to banking and banknote usage in Ireland.

A lack of coinage, 'specie' lead to a need for a credit finance system in its place. This led to the growth of private banks, in particular those which issued banknotes. All Irish banks were permitted to issue their own banknotes.

There were several boom and bust cycles involving banking in Ireland in the 130 year era of the private banks up to 1824.

Private banks were prohibited by law from having more than six partners by an act of 1756, which also required all of the partners of the bank to be named on every banknote. Also, the 1756 act prohibited bankers from engaging in other business, thus largely excluding merchant capital from banking.

These constraints kept the banks weak, and also defined the banknotes issued by the Private banks, which list the partners of the issuing bank. Many of the Private banks had little in the way of backing for their banknote issues, and almost all of them failed after a few years in business.

The Irish Banking Act of 1825 which enabled the formation of Joint Stock banks also sealed the fate of note-issuing private banks, by providing a stable well-funded banknote issue which made the note issues of the private banks less desirable.

The small number of note-issuing private banks which survived into the era of joint Stock banking were taken over by joint stock banks, or merged with other private banks to form joint stock banks. By around 1836 there were no private banks remaining which issued banknotes.

The Bankers (Ireland) Act 1845 prohibited the granting of the right of note issue to any bank that did not already have it, terminating the era of Irish private banks of note issue.

For a background history on the Irish Private banks, The history of Banking in Ireland by J W Gilbart is a good resource.

This section on the Private Banks is a work in progress, and will grow as banks are added. There is also a Private Banks category on the discussion board.

The study of the Irish private banks has progressed gradually since the 1970s. The largest contributors to the current knowledge on the banknotes of these banks are Young (Irish Numismatics, 1968-1986), Gallagher (Small Notes) and Callaway (Paper Money of Ireland, 2009, 2021).

There is also a broader background of published material on the private banks in general and of the banking system they were a part of in the form of articles, papers and books dating from the nineteenth century right up to the present day.

New discoveries in banknotes are turning up constantly, as is new information on the banks themselves.


Types of notes

Banknotes
Banknotes payable on demand to the bearer, were printed by various printers, those of some banks being printed on both sides, most being printed uniface. They varied in design, shape and size.

Denominations used were varied, and often tended to be small notes, for amounts which corresponded to coin denominations. The vast majority of banknotes recorded are for denominations less than £10 although higher denominations up to £100 are known.

Contemporary forgeries are sometimes encountered. These are generally faithful to the design of genuine notes and provide insights into bank partnerships. As such they are also highly collectable.

Post Bills
Bank post bills were issued by many banks in Ireland in the early 1800’s and became a significant element of circulating currency. Bank Post Bills were designed to transmit money through the post and were payable after a specified amount of time for security reasons. The design of the Post Bills of the banks is very similar to those of their banknotes and as such they are highly collectable.

It is notable that the Bank of Ireland which was essentially a joint stock bank established in 1783 also issued post bills, and was the only joint stock bank to do so.




Irish Private Banks of Note Issue. Listing in alphabetical order

Only those Private Banks which are known to have issued notes are listed. Non note-issuing banks are outside the scope of this listing.

All banknotes are displayed in correct proportional size to each other, where the correct size of a banknote is not known this is stated with the image. Most of the images have been sourced from the net over the past decade, with some being loaned by collectors for scanning. Some images were obtained up to 20 or more years ago. As a result, the quality of available images varies. Upgrades are welcome, as are images of banknotes not pictured on the web site.

Linked pages and examples of banknotes of all of the banks in this list will be added on a phased basis. The information contained in these listings is being researched constantly, and will be added to periodically. Advice of updated will be posted on the web board.


Alphabetical by Name

Alexander & Co. Dublin 1810-1820.
Atkins, Skottowe, Roberts. Waterford Bank. 1806–1809.

Bank of Kingscourt, Co. Cavan. 1805–1809
Boyle & Co. Dublin. 1833.

Cotter & Kellett's. Cork Bank. 1800–1809.

David Gordon and Co. Belfast Bank. 1808–1827 Merged with the Belfast Commercial Bank to form the Belfast Banking Co, a joint stock bank.
De La Cours. Mallow Bank. 1801–1835.

Fermoy Bank. 1800–1816.
Ffrench's Bank. Tuam, Co. Galway and Dublin. 1803–1814 (Also known as Tuam Bank) Failed due to lack of liquidity.
Finlay's Bank. Dublin. 1754–1829
Fleming, Cunningham Gouldsbury. Longford Bank. 1804–1808.

Gibbons and Williams. Dublin. 1833-1835

Henry Macartney, Carlow Bank. 1804–1813.
Hugh Montgomery and Co. The Northern Bank. 1809-1824

James Laughnan. Kilkenny Bank. 1816–1820.
John Ewing & Co. Belfast Bank. 1787–1796.
John Rose. The Silver Bank. 1804.
Joyce, Blake. Galway Bank. 1802–1813.

La Touche & Co., Dublin. 1693-1870 Merged into the Munster Bank, a joint stock bank.
Leslie's. Cork Bank. 1823–1825.
Lighton, Needham and Shaw. Dublin. 1797–1805.

Mark Lynch & Co. Galway Bank. 1805–1814.
Maunsell, George & Co. Bank of Limerick. 1815–1820.
Moore, Macan, Foxall. Newry Bank. 1804–1816.

Newports. Waterford Bank. 1799–1820.

Pike's Bank. Cork. 1800–1826.

Rialls Bank. Clonmel, Co.Tipperary. 1802–1820.
Roberts, Bonwell, Leslie. Cork Bank. 1799–1810.
Roberts, Roberts, Congreve. Waterford Bank. 1807–1809.
Roberts, Leslie & Leslie. Cork Bank. 1811–1815.
Roche's Bank. Cork. 1800–1820.
Roche's Bank. Limerick Bank 1801–1825.
Ross’ Bank. New Ross, Wexford. 1800.

Shaw’s Bank. Dublin. 1805–1836.
Solomon Watson & Co. Clonmel Bank. 1800–1809.

Thomas Dillon & Co. Dublin. 1736–1754

Walter Joyce & Co. Galway Bank. 1802–1813.
Williams & Finn. Dublin. 1804–1806.
William Tennant and Co. Belfast Commercial Bank. 1809–1827 Merged with the Belfast Bank to form the Belfast Banking Co, a joint stock bank.
William Williams-Hewitt & Co. Cork. ca.1776-1787.


Alphabetical by Town

Belfast, Co Antrim
John Ewing & Co. Belfast Bank. 1787–1796.
David Gordon and Co. Belfast Bank. 1809–1827
Hugh Montgomery and Co. The Northern Bank. 1809-1824
William Tennant and Co. Belfast Commercial Bank. 1809–1827

Carlow
Henry Macartney, Carlow Bank. 1804–1813.

Cavan

Cork
Cotter & Kellett's. Cork Bank. 1800–1809.
Leslie's. Cork Bank. 1823–1825.
Pike's Bank. Cork. 1800–1826.
Roberts, Bonwell, Leslie. Cork Bank. 1799–1810.
Roberts, Leslie & Leslie. Cork Bank. 1811–1815.
Roche's Bank. Cork. 1800–1820.
William Williams-Hewitt & Co. Cork ca.1776-1787.

Clonmel, Co. Tipperary
Rialls Bank. Clonmel. 1802–1820.
Solomon Watson & Co. Clonmel Bank. 1800–1809.

Dublin
Boyle & Co. Dublin. 1833.
Thomas Dillon & Co. Dublin. 1736–1754.
Ffrench's Bank. Charles and Co. Dublin. 1807–1814
Finlay's Bank. Dublin. 1754–1829
Gibbons and Williams. Dublin. 1833-1835
Lighton, Needham and Shaw. Dublin. 1797–1805.
Shaw’s Bank. Dublin. 1805–1836.
John Rose, The Silver Bank. Dublin. 1804.
William Alexander & Co. Dublin 1810-1820
Williams & Finn. Dublin. 1804–1806.

Fermoy, Co. Cork
Fermoy Bank. 1800–1816.

Galway
Ffrench's Bank. Charles and Co. Tuam, Co. Galway. 1803–1814 (Also known as Tuam Bank)
Joyce, Blake. Galway Bank. 1802–1813.
Mark Lynch & Co. Galway Bank. 1805–1814.
Walter Joyce & Co. Galway Bank. 1802–1813.

Kilkenny
James Laughnan. Kilkenny Bank. 1816–1820.

Kingscourt, Co Cavan
Bank of Kingscourt, Co. Cavan. 1805–1809

Limerick
Maunsell, George & Co. Bank of Limerick. 1815–1820.
Thomas Roche & Co. Limerick Bank 1801–1825.

Longford
Fleming, Cunningham Gouldsbury. Longford Bank. 1804–1808.

Newry, Co Down
Moore, Macan, Foxall. Newry Bank. 1804–1816.

Mallow, Co. Cork
De La Cours. Mallow Bank. 1801–1835.

Waterford
Atkins, Skottowe, Roberts. Waterford Bank. 1806–1809.
Newports. Waterford Bank. 1799–1820.
Roberts, Roberts, Congreve. Waterford Bank.1807–1809.

Wexford
Ross’ Bank. New Ross. 1800.



General references
Barrow, G. L. “The Emergence of the Irish Banking System 1820–1845”, Gill & Macmillan, 1975.
Gilbart, J. W. "
The history of Banking in Ireland, 1804, Longman, 1836.
Callaway, J., Blake, R., Papermoney of Ireland, 2009.
Young, D., Irish Numismatics Magazine, 1968-1986.





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