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Home < Main Site Map < Currency Issues of the Irish Private Banks ca1670-1836 > Joint Stock Banks 1783-1928

Currency Issues of the Irish Private Banks
ca1670-ca1836

Private Banks & businesses of note issue in Ireland


Listed are entities for which there are surviving examples of notes

Other note-issuing banks and businesses also existed, and will be added here when examples of their notes turn up for illustration.

Map of Irish private banks locations
Geographical locations of note-issuing private banks in Ireland


The Private Banks pages are under constant revision. Banks in black have yet to be added here. They are listed on the Private Banks Forum. They will be added here on an on-going basis, and their label colour changed appropriately.


There were well over a hundred note-issuing Private banks and businesses. Almost all of the surviving banknote and post bill issues of the Irish private banks date from the 1797 to 1836 period, with a few rare exceptions dating from the earlier 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, except sometimes when a sole banker was operating. Many of the Private banks had little in the way of backing for their banknote issues and a lot of them tended to over-issue notes. 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 and less necessary.

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), Callaway (Paper Money of Ireland, 2009, 2021), and Kenny & Turner (2019).

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. A list of the papers and articles most relevant to the study of the banknotes is in the references at the bottom of this page.

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. Notes of two banks are known to have been printed on both sides, those of all other banks being printed uniface. They varied in design, shape and size.

Denominations used were varied, and often tended to be small notes below £5 in face value, and 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. They are also highly collectable.

Post Bills

Bank post bills were issued by many of the private banks 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, from 7 to 21 days after issue. 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 a private joint stock bank established in 1783 also issued post bills, and was the only joint stock bank to do so.


Currency denominations issued by the Irish private banks

Some of the more common fractional denominations in use are listed below, and most corresponded to Guinea denominations in use. Various whole Shilling denominations were also produced, 9s and 6s being the most commonly used.
One Pound, 5 Shillings = 25 Shillings
3 Shillings, 9 and a half pence Irish = 1/6 Guinea
7 Shillings, 7 pence = 1/3 Guinea
1 Pound, 2 Shillings and 9 pence Irish = 1 Guinea
1 Pound, 14 Shillings, 1 and a half pence Irish = 1.5G
Five Pounds, Thirteen Shillings and Ninepence Irish = 5G
Notes denominated in Guineas almost always also stated their Irish currency equivalent.

Banks issued notes in Pounds Sterling, and notes in Irish Pounds. Notes with a primary denomination in Guineas (1 Guinea = 21 Shillings Sterling) often but not always stated their denomination in Irish currency. Sterling notes were identified as such with the word 'Sterling' or 'British'.

Post bills circulated as currency, but were only redeemable a stated number of days after issue which could be up to 21 days. The term 'sola bill' is occasionally stated, meaning a single individual bill.

Sight notes, or sight bills are very similar in nature to post bills, in that they promise to pay after a certain period. In the case of the sight note, payment is promised on a certain stated time period after the note is presented for payment.


Waterford Bank One GuineaLa Touche 5 Guineas
Ffrench's Bank, Tuam, 3 GuineasGibbons and Williams 30 Shillings


Irish Private Banks of Note Issue. Listing in alphabetical order


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

The listing of 'banks' will include merchants who issued notes who did not describe themselves as bankers and did not register as such.

All banknotes are displayed in correct proportional size to each other where possible. If 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 updates will be posted on the web board.


Alphabetical by Name


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

Boyle & Co. Dublin. 1833

Peter Blake, Ennis, Co. Clare. 1813-1816



Carshore. Carrick on Suir, Co. Tipperary. 1806-1809
Cotter & Kellett's. Cork Bank. 1800-1809.

De La Cours. Mallow Bank. 1801-1835.
Dillon & Co. Dublin. 1736-1754

Evans Bruce, Charleville. 1803-1820
Ewing & Co. Belfast Bank. 1787-1796.

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
Gordon and Co. Belfast Bank. 1808-1827 Merged with Tennant & Co., Belfast Commercial Bank to form the Belfast Banking Company, a joint stock bank.

Hughes, Drogheda. 1804.

Joyce & Co. Galway Bank. 1802-1813.

Bank of Kingscourt, Co. Cavan. 1805-1809

La Touche & Co., Dublin. 1693-1870 Merged into the Munster Bank, a joint stock bank.
Laughnan. Kilkenny Bank. 1816-1820.
Leslie's. Cork Bank. 1823-1825
Lighton, Needham and Shaw. Dublin. 1797-1805.
Lynch & Co. Galway Bank. 1805-1814

Macartney, Carlow Bank. 1804-1813.
Talbot's, Malahide Bank, later Talbot's Silver Bank. 1803-1804
Maunsell, George & Co. Bank of Limerick. 1815-1820
Montgomery and Co. The Northern Bank. 1809-1824
Moore, Macan, Foxall. Newry Bank. 1804-1816.
Moylan, Cork. 1813-1814

Newports. Waterford Bank. 1799-1820.

O'Neill's Bank, Waterford. 1799-1801

Pike's Bank, Cork. 1800-1826

Rialls Bank. Clonmel, Co.Tipperary. 1802-1820.
Roberts, Leslie. Cork Bank. 1799-1825
Roberts, Roberts, Congreve. Waterford Bank. 1807-1809.
Roche's Bank. Cork. 1800-1820.
Roche's Bank. Limerick Bank. 1801-1825.
The Silver Bank. 1804, Alderman John Rose.
Ross’ Bank. New Ross, Wexford. 1800.

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

Tennant and Co. Belfast Commercial Bank. 1809-1827 Merged with Ewing & Co., Belfast Bank to form the Belfast Banking Co, a joint stock bank.

Williams & Finn. Dublin. 1804-1806.
William Williams-Hewitt & Co. Cork. ca.1776-1787.


Alphabetical by Town


Belfast, Co Antrim

David Gordon and Co. Belfast Bank. 1809-1827
Ewing & Co. Belfast Bank. 1787-1796.
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

Bank of Kingscourt. 1805-1809

Carrick on Suir, Co. Tipperary

Joseph Carshore. 1806-1809

Charleville, Co. Cork

Evans Bruce, Charleville. 1803-1820

Cork

Cotter & Kellett's. Cork Bank. 1800-1809.
Leslie's. Cork Bank. 1823-1825
Moylan. 1813-1814
Pike's Cork Bank. 1800-1826
Roberts, Leslie. Cork Bank. 1799-1815
Roche's Cork Bank. 1800-1820.
Williams-Hewitt & Co. Cork ca.1776-1787.

Clonmel, Co. Tipperary

Riall's Bank. Clonmel. 1802-1820.
Watson & Co. Clonmel Bank. 1800-1809.

Dublin

Alexander & Co. Dublin 1810-1820
Boyle & Co. Dublin. 1833
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.
Talbot, The Silver Bank. 1803-1804
Williams & Finn. Dublin. 1804-1806.


Ennis, Co. Clare

Peter Blake 1813-1816
Francis McMahon 1805-1816
Michael O'Brien ca1811

John O'Donnell 1819
Ennis Chronicle ca1784-1831


Drogheda, Co. Louth

William Hughes. 1804.

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 & Co. Galway Bank. 1802-1813.
Lynch & Co. Galway Bank. 1805-1814.

Kilkenny

Laughnan. Kilkenny Bank. 1816-1820.

Limerick

Maunsell, George & Co. Bank of Limerick. 1815-1820
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.
O'Neill's Bank, Waterford. 1799-1801
Roberts, Roberts, Congreve. Waterford Bank.1807-1809.


Wicklow

Rose, The Silver Bank. 1804


Wexford

Ross’ Bank. New Ross. 1800.



General references

Barrow, G. L. (1975). The Emergence of the Irish Banking System 1820–1845, Gill & Macmillan.
Blake, R., Callaway, J. (2009). "Papermoney of Ireland".
Gilbart, J. W.
The history of Banking in Ireland, 1804, Longman, 1836.
Hall, F. G. (1949). The Bank of Ireland, 1783-1946. Dublin: Hodges, Figgis and Company.
Kenny, S., Turner, J. D. (2019). "Wildcat bankers or political failure? The Irish financial pantomime, 1797–1826", European Review of Economic History 24(4).
Newby, E. (2007). "The Suspension of Cash Payments as a Monetary Regime, University of St Andrews.
O’Brien, N, "The Road to an Irish national bank".
Ó Gráda, C. (2001). "Should the Munster Bank have been saved?", Dept. Economics, University College Dublin, Working Paper Article.
O’Kelly, E. (1959). The Old Private Banks and Bankers of Munster. Cork: Cork University Press.
Ollerenshaw, P. (1987). Banking in Nineteenth Century Ireland. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Tenison, C. M. (1893-1895). “The Old Dublin Bankers.” Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, No. 2-3.
Tenison, C. M. (1892, 1893). “The Private Bankers of Cork and the South of Ireland.” Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, No. 1-2.
Young, D. (1968-1986). Irish Numismatics Magazine.







The Private banks page is still having banks being added to it. As long as there remain banks to be added for which notes were issued, the graphic below will remain!

The Private banks page is still having banks being added to it


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