header Notes Collection

5 Pounds 1977, Ireland

in Banknotes Book Number: E141
Years of issue: 14.10.1977
Signatures: Governor: Mr. C. H. Murray, Secretary of the Depatment of Finance: Mr. M. O'Murchu
Serie: Series "B" Banknotes (1976- 82 & 1989-93)
Specimen of: 18.05.1976
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 156 х 83
Printer: Waterlow and Sons Limited, London

* 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.

5 Pounds 1977




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

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


5 Pounds 1977

Johannes Scotus Eriugena (c. 815 - c. 877) was an Irish theologian, Neoplatonist philosopher, and poet. He wrote a number of works, but is best known today, and had most influence in subsequent centuries, for having translated and made commentaries upon the work of Pseudo-Dionysius. His work is largely based upon Saint Augustine, Pseudo-Dionysius, Maximus the Confessor, and the Cappadocian Fathers, and is clearly Neoplatonist. He revived the transcendentalist standpoint of Neoplatonism with its "graded hierarchy" approach. By going back to Plato, he revived the nominalist-realist debate.

The picture on the background is taken from the Book Durrow.

Durrow book Durrow book

Page 84, slightly damaged. On the page is initial illustrated letter A, which is in the background of the banknote.

The Book of Durrow is a medieval illuminated manuscript gospel book in the Insular art style. It was probably created between 650 and 700. The place of creation may perhaps have been Durrow Abbey in Ireland or a monastery in Northumbria in northeastern England (where the monastery at Lindisfarne would be the likely candidate) or perhaps Iona Abbey in western Scotland - the place of origin has been debated by historians for decades without a consensus emerging. The Book of Durrow was certainly at Durrow Abbey by 916. Today it is in the library at Trinity College, Dublin (MS A. 4. 5. (57)).

It is the oldest extant complete illuminated Insular gospel book, for example predating the Book of Kells by over a century. The text includes the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, plus several pieces of prefatory matter and canon tables. Its pages measure 245 by 145 mm and there are 248 vellum folios. It contains a large illumination programm including six extant carpet pages, a full page miniature of the four evangelists' symbols, four full page miniatures, each containing a single evangelist symbol, and six pages with significant decorated initials and text. It is written in majuscule insular script (in effect the block capitals of the day), with some lacunae.

The page size has been reduced by subsequent rebindings, and most leaves are now single when unbound, where many or most would originally have been in "bifolia" or folded pairs. It is clear that some pages have been inserted in the wrong places. The main significance of this is that it is unclear if there was originally a seventh carpet page. Now Matthew does not have one, but there is, most unusually, one as the last page in the book. Perhaps there were only ever six: one at the start of the book with a cross, one opposite the next page with the four symbols (as now), and one opposite each individual symbol at the start of each gospel. Otherwise the original programme of illumination seems to be complete, which is rare in manuscripts of this age.

In the standard account of the development of the Insular gospel book, the Book of Durrow follows the fragmentary Northumbrian Gospel Book Fragment (Durham Cathedral Library, A. II. 10.) and precedes the Book of Lindisfarne, which was begun around 700.

Now about what kind of text is present in the background of the obverse.

Durrow bookDurrow bookDurrow book

Here is what my friend wrote to me, who helped me a lot with this material:

"The first, leftmost, column is not shown in full. Well, the fact that the text is cut off from the left is understandable, but it also continues after the coupon field (pure white space on the banknote), and its continuation is the second, counting from the left , also narrow, a column of text.

In short, like this: we take page 122 from this site:

The Book of Durrow

We cut off this page on the left, almost to the end of the very first word, leaving only the last letter "e" from it.

This is the beginning of the text in the first column of the banknote. Further, the text is interrupted (cut off again) at the second letter "q", in the second word.

The next letters in this (second) word "uepe" are discarded, cutting off the page again (after them).

This is the beginning of the text in the second column (immediately after the coupon field, counting from left to right).

Now the next column (third). This is completely page 123, on the same site.

And the last, fourth column (the rightmost one).

Here, according to some very Irish logic, they stuck page 271 (see the same site)! Moreover, the banknote text begins, in this column, from the FIFTH line of the original source!

So the left column:

This is the Gospel of Matthew, Books from Durrow.

The first two lines are in italics, because they are not on the banknote, as they are written on the previous page, but they are the beginning of the biblical verse and, therefore, are necessary in meaning.

The first column (the leftmost, which is divided into two narrow columns, in fact the first and second):




















quaehabebat. Єꞇꞃeꝺꝺıꞇanꞇumpꞃo





єꞇdebıꞇumdımıssıꞇeum. ЄᵹRessus


conseꞃuıssuıs quıdebebaꞇeıcєnꞇu҃


“Truly, I also say to you that if two of you agree on earth to ask for any matter, then whatever they ask, it will be for them from My Father in Heaven, for where two or three are gathered in My name, there I am in the midst of them. Then Peter came to him and said, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother who sins against me? up to seven times? Jesus says to him, I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who to reckon with his servants; when he began to reckon, someone was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents; and as he did not have anything to pay, his sovereign ordered him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and everything, that he had, and to pay; then that servant fell, and, bowing to him, said: sir, be patient with me, and I will pay you everything. The sire, having mercy on that servant, let him go and forgave him the debt. found one of his comrades, who owed him a hundred ... "

Third column:

denaꞃıoꞅ єꞇꞇenensꞅoꝼꝼocabaꞇeum


conꞅeꞃuuseıus ꞃoᵹabaꞇeumdıcєns

paꞇıenꞇıam habeınme єꞇomnıaꞃeꝺ

ꝺamꞇıbıılleauꞇemnoluıꞇ seꝺabııꞇ

Єꞇmıssıꞇeum ıncaꞃceꞃem donecꞃeꝺ

deꞃєꞇ debıꞇumuıdenꞇesauꞇemcon

seꞃuıeıus quaeꝼıebanꞇ conꞇꞃısꞇa

ꞇısunꞇualꝺe єꞇueneꞃunꞇєꞇnaꞃꞃa

ueꞃunꞇꝺn҃oꞅuo omnıaquaeꝼacꞇaꝼueꞃant

Ꞇunc uocauıꞇıllumꝺn҃s suus єꞇaıꞇ

ıllıseꞃuenequam omnedebıꞇum

dımısıꞇıbı quonıam ꞃoᵹaꞅꞇımenon

eꞃᵹo opoꞃꞇuıꞇ єꞇꞇemıseꞃeꞃı conꞅєꞃe


Єꞇıꞃaꞇus dn҃seıusꞇꞃaꝺıꝺıꞇeumꞇoꞃ

ꞇoꞃıb: quoadusqueꞃeꝺꝺeꞃєꞇ unı


caelesꞇıs ꝼacıєꞇuobıssınonꞃemıs

seꞃıꞇıs unusquısq:ꝼꞃaꞇꞃısuo de

coꞃdıb:uesꞇꞃıs• lu•

Єꞇꝼacꞇumesꞇ cumconsummas

sєꞇıh҃sseꞃmonesısꞇoꞅ mıᵹꞃauıt

aᵹalıleaєꞇuenıꞇınꝼınesıuꝺeae tr


Translation (continuation of the first column):

"... denarii, and, seizing him, choked him, saying: give me what you owe. Then his comrade fell at his feet, begged him and said: bear with me, and I will give you everything. But he did not want to, but went and planted his comrades, seeing what happened, were very upset and, having come, told their sovereign everything that had happened. "Shouldn't you also have had mercy on your comrade, as I also had mercy on you? And, being angry, his sovereign handed him over to the torturers until he paid him all the debt. So also My Heavenly Father will do to you, if each of you does not forgive from the heart his brother to his sins.

Fourth column (Gospel of Luke):


cımascendenꞇıb: ınıllıshyeꞃusolıma

ꞅaecunꝺumconsueꞇuꝺınemꝺıeı ꝼeꞅꞇıco

summaꞇısq: dıeb: cumꞃedıꞃenꞇReman

ꞅıꞇpueꞃıh҃s ınhyeꞃusalem єꞇnoncoᵹno






ꞇeseum Єꞇꝼacꞇumesꞇposꞇꞇꞃıꝺuum





audıebanꞇsupeꞃpꞃuꝺenꞇıam єꞇꞃeꞅ

ponsıseıus єꞇuıdenꞇesadmıꞃaꞇıꞅunꞇ



dolenꞇes quaeꞃebamusꞇe


“And when He was twelve years old, they also came, according to custom, to Jerusalem for the feast. When, at the end of the days of the feast, they returned, the Servant Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and Joseph and His Mother did not notice it, but thought that He was coming with and having traveled a day's journey, they began to look for him among relatives and acquaintances, not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem, looking for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them; all who listened to him marveled at his understanding and His answers. And when they saw Him, they marveled, and His Mother said to Him: Child, what have You done to us? Behold, Your father and I have been looking for You with great sorrow."

Denomination is in lower left corner.


5 Pounds 1977

Text and the images of animals are taken from the "Book of Kells", VIII century.

The Book of Kells

The Book of Kells (Irish: Leabhar Cheanannais) (Dublin, Trinity College Library, MS A. I., sometimes known as the Book of Columba) is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables. It was created in a Columban monastery in either Britain or Ireland, or indeed may have had contributions from various Columban institutions from both Britain and Ireland. It is believed to have been created ca. 800 AD. The text of the Gospels is largely drawn from the Vulgate, although it also includes several passages drawn from the earlier versions of the Bible known as the Vetus Latina. It is a masterwork of Western calligraphy and represents the pinnacle of Insular illumination. It is also widely regarded as Ireland's finest national treasure.

The illustrations and ornamentation of the Book of Kells surpass that of other Insular Gospel books in extravagance and complexity. The decoration combines traditional Christian iconography with the ornate swirling motifs typical of Insular art. Figures of humans, animals and mythical beasts, together with Celtic knots and interlacing patterns in vibrant colours, enliven the manuscript's pages. Many of these minor decorative elements are imbued with Christian symbolism and so further emphasize the themes of the major illustrations.

The Book of Kells

The Panther in the jump. Illustration in the text on page 81.

In the background is part of a page from the Gospel of Matthew, from the Book of Kells.

(1) ЄꞇcıRcumıbaꞇıh҃sꞇoꞇamᵹalıle

(2) amꝺoceNs ıNsıNaᵹoᵹıseoRumєꞇpRae

(3) dıcaNseuaNᵹelıumReᵹnıєꞇsanans

(4) omNemlaNᵹoRem єꞇomnem ınꝼırmıꞇa

(5) ꞇemıNpopulo.(7) amєꞇobꞇule

(9) laNᵹuoRıbus єꞇꞇoRmeNꞇıscoNpRae

(6) ЄꞇabııꞇopıNıoeıusıNsıꞇoꞇamsıRı

(8) RuNꞇeıomNesmalehabeNꞇesuaRıs

(10) heNsos єꞇquıdemonıa habebaNꞇ.

(!) Numbers indicate the sequence of reading lines.


"And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every kind of infirmity among the people. And a rumor about Him went through all Syria; and they brought to Him all the weak, possessed by various diseases and seizures, and possessed."

Unfortunately, questions remain.

On the manuscript, "panther" interrupts only one line!

At the same time, the second part (right) of the line flew here by mistake of the scribe. Wikipedia says, that this book contains a huge number of gross errors, and that during its creation they did not particularly care about this, but put all their efforts into its beauty.

However, this is not all.

Apparently, the engravers on the banknote decided to exacerbate this mistake and put another line around the "panther".

Denomination is in lower right corner.


Designers team

Series B designers team:

Artist - Patrick Hickey.

Michael Biggs - calligrapher.

Sean Mulcahy - consulting engineer.

Richard Hurley - architect.

Brian Hogan - architect, lecturer, writer.