header Notes Collection

20 Pounds 1997, Ireland

in Banknotes Book Number: E160
Years of issue: 02.09.1997
Edition: --
Signatures: Governor: Mr. Muiris S. O'Conaill, Secretary of the Department of Finance: Mr. P. H. Mullarkey
Serie: Serie С 1992 - 2002
Specimen of: 10.09.1992
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 136 х 72
Printer: Central Bank of Ireland Printworks, Central Bank Currency Centre, Dublin

* All pictures marked magnify are increased partially by magnifying glass, the remaining open in full size by clicking on the image.

** The word "Specimen" is present only on some of electronic pictures, in accordance with banknote images publication rules of appropriate banks.

20 Pounds 1997




Lady Hazel Lavery (second wife of the famous painter Sir John Lavery).

She is a personification of Ireland on Irish banknotes Serie A.

Denomination in numeral 20.


20 Pounds 1997

Daniel O'ConnellThe prototype served as a portrait on a banknote is the portrait of Daniel O'Connell by pencil. Year and author are unknown.

Daniel O'Connell (Dónall Ó Conaill; 6 August 1775 – 15 May 1847), often referred to as The Liberator or The Emancipator, was an Irish political leader in the first half of the 19th century. He campaigned for Catholic emancipation, including the right for Catholics to sit in the Westminster Parliament, denied for over 100 years, and repeal of the Act of Union which combined Great Britain and Ireland.

Compelled to leave the Roman Catholic college at Douai, France, when the French Revolution broke out, O’Connell went to London to study law, and in 1798 he was called to the Irish bar. His forensic skill enabled him to use the courts as nationalist forums. Although he had joined the Society of United Irishmen, a revolutionary society, as early as 1797, he refused to participate in the Irish Rebellion of the following year. When the Act of Union (which took effect Jan. 1, 1801) abolished the Irish Parliament, he insisted that the British Parliament repeal the anti-Catholic laws in order to justify its claim to represent the people of Ireland. From 1813 he opposed various Catholic relief proposals because the government, with the acquiescence of the papacy, would have had the right to veto nominations to Catholic bishoprics in Great Britain and Ireland. Although permanent political organizations of Catholics were illegal, O’Connell set up a nationwide series of mass meetings to petition for Catholic emancipation.

On May 12, 1823, O’Connell and Richard Lalor Sheil (1791–1851) founded the Catholic Association, which quickly attracted the support of the Irish priesthood and of lawyers and other educated Catholic laymen and which eventually comprised so many members that the government could not suppress it. In 1826, when it was reorganized as the New Catholic Association, it caused the defeat of several parliamentary candidates sponsored by large landowners. In County Clare in July 1828, O’Connell himself, although (as a Catholic) ineligible to sit in the House of Commons, defeated a man who tried to support both the British government and Catholic emancipation. This result impressed on the British prime minister, Arthur Wellesley, 1st duke of Wellington, the need for making a major concession to the Irish Catholics. Following the passage of the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829, O’Connell, after going through the formality of an uncontested reelection, took his seat at Westminster.

n April 1835 he helped to overthrow Sir Robert Peel’s Conservative ministry, and in the same year he entered into the “Lichfield House compact,” whereby he promised the Whig Party leaders a period of “perfect calm” in Ireland while the government enacted reform measures. O’Connell and his Irish adherents (known collectively as “O’Connell’s tail”) then aided in keeping the weak Whig administration of William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, in office from 1835 to 1841. By 1839, however, O’Connell realized that the Whigs would do little more than the Conservatives for Ireland, and in 1840 he founded the Repeal Association to dissolve the Anglo-Irish legislative union. A series of mass meetings in all parts of Ireland culminated in O’Connell’s arrest for seditious conspiracy, but he was released on appeal after three months’ imprisonment (June–September 1844). Afterward his health failed rapidly, and the nationalist leadership fell to the radical Young Ireland group.

While O'Connell's mother tongue was Irish, he promoted the spread of the English language among the Irish people in order to increase their culture. Although the most important achievement is his campaign for Catholic emancipation, he also advocated for the rights of Irish Jews. At his insistence, in 1846, it was canceled British law "De Judaismo", instructing Jews wearing special clothing. O'Connell said: "... Ireland is the only country I know of, not mired in any single act of persecution of the Jews."(

Daniel O'Connell Daniel O'ConnellOn the background is the family estate, and the house, of Daniel O'Connell in Derrynane Abbey, County Kerry. From lithography at the National Gallery, in Dublin.

Derrynane House, County Kerry, once known as Darrynane Abbey, was the ancestral home of Daniel O'Connell (1775-1847), one of the most celebrated figures in modern Irish history (fig. 1). From his infancy to his death in Genoa in 1847, Daniel and his family spent most of their summers at Derrynane. The house and the estate remained in the possession of the O'Connell family until 1948, when it was handed over to the Derrynane Trust who in turn presented it to the nation in 1964. Described as the "Mecca of the lovers of Liberty", Derrynane House was opened in 1967 as a museum dedicated to the life and times of the Liberator and his family and some 300 acres of land make up the Derrynane National Historic Park opened in 1975.

The earliest Derrynane House was built by Daniel O'Connell's grandfather, Captain John O'Connell, in 1702. That was extended or replaced by the Captain's son, Dónal Mór (d. 1770), and this Georgian farmhouse survived until its demolition by the Office of Public Works in the late 1960s.

Daniel inherited the estate on the death of his uncle, "Hunting-Cap" O'Connell (1726-1825), and soon extended the house with a spacious dining room and drawing room to the south, and a battlemented library wing to the east. The orientation of the entrance to the house was also altered at this time, from the old approach from the north to the entrance visitors use today, which meets the house on the east. (

Denomination in numeral is in top right corner. At bottom in words.


20 Pounds 1997

Four CourtsThe Four Courts (Irish: Na Ceithre Cúirteanna) is Ireland's main courts building, located on Inns Quay in Dublin. The Four Courts are the location of the Supreme Court, the High Court and the Dublin Circuit Court. Until 2010 the building also housed the Central Criminal Court.

Work based on the design of Thomas Cooley for the Public Records Office of Ireland, began in 1776. After his death in 1784 renowned architect James Gandon was appointed to finish the building, which we recognize today as the Four Courts. It was built between 1786 and 1796, while the finishing touches to the arcades and wings were completed in 1802. The lands were previously used by the King's Inns. The building originally housed the four courts of Chancery, King's Bench, Exchequer and Common Pleas, hence the name of the building. A major revision in the court system in the late nineteenth century saw these courts merged into a new High Court of Ireland, but the building has retained its historic name. This courts system remained until 1924, when the new Irish Free State introduced a new courts structure, replacing the High Court of Ireland, the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland and the Lord Chancellor of Ireland with a Supreme Court of Justice presided over by the Chief Justice and a High Court of Justice, presided over by the President of the High Court. In 1961 the words "of justice" were dropped from the names of both courts when they were belatedly re-established consequent upon the enactment of the 1937 Constitution.

Four CourtsThe Four Courts and surrounding areas were held by Commandant Ned Daly's 1st Battalion during the Easter Rising in 1916. Some of the most intense fighting of Easter Week took place in the Church Street/North King Street/North Brunswick Street area. At the end of the week the Four Courts building itself became the headquarters of the 1st Battalion.

On 14 April 1922 the courts complex was occupied by forces opposed to the Anglo-Irish Treaty, led by Rory O'Connor. On 27 June the new National Army attacked the building to dislodge the rebels, on the orders of the Minister for Defence Richard Mulcahy, authorised by President of Dáil Éireann Arthur Griffith. This provoked a week of fighting in Dublin. In the process of the bombardment the historic building was destroyed. The west wing of the building was obliterated in a huge explosion, destroying the Irish Public Record Office at the rear of the building. Nearly a thousand years of archives were destroyed by this.

O'Connor's forces were accused of mining the records office; however, those present, who included future Taoiseach Seán Lemass, said that while they had used the archive as a store of their ammunition, they had not deliberately mined it. They suggest that the explosion was caused by the accidental detonation of their ammunition store during the fighting.

For a decade, the old courts system (until 1924), then the new Free State courts system, were based in the old viceregal apartments in Dublin Castle. In 1932, a rebuilt and remodelled Four Courts was opened. However, much of the decorative interior of the original building had been lost and, in the absence of documentary archives (some of which had been in the Public Records Office and others of which were among the vast amount of legal records lost also), and also because the new state did not have the funds, the highly decorative interior was not replaced. Two side wings were rebuilt further from the river to undo the problem caused by excessively narrow footpaths outside the building. However, that change, and the removal of chimney-stacks, has removed some of the architectural unity and effect planned by Gandon in 1796.

In the early 1990s, the then Chief Justice suggested building a new purpose-built building to house the Supreme Court, leaving the other courts in situ. For the present, however, the Supreme Court remains in the Four Courts.

Prior to 2010 both civil and serious trials were heard in the Four Courts which was also the location for the Court of Criminal Appeal. With the opening of a new criminal courts complex in January 2010 – the Criminal Courts of Justice beside the Phoenix Park – all criminal trials were transferred there. The Four Courts remaining in use for civil matters. The Court of Criminal Appeal also moved to the new building but it also occasionally sits in the Four Courts.

The back of the note features a pledge signed in 1845 by a number of early Irish statesmen.

Text in English: "We, the undersigned, being convinced that good Government and wise Legislation can be permanently secured to the Irish People only through the instrumentality of an Irish Legislature, Do hereby solemnly pledge ourselves, To our country and to each other, That, We will never desist from seeking the Repeal of the Legislative Union and, by all peaceable, moral and Constitutional means, until peace wont be restored to Ireland".

Denomination in words and in numeral is in lower right corner.


Designer: Robert Ballagh.

The brick detail in the building is actually '£20' printed repeatedly. This was an added security feature that was often missed by prospective counterfeiters.