The Irish Free State was established on December 6th 1922. The first set of 12 Irish Stamps designs were chosen as the result of a competition launched by Postmaster General J.J. Walsh in February that same year. Designs were required to be ‘symbolic in character, and the inscriptions must be in Gaelic characters’. The prize included £25 per design.
This, 6 (sé pingine) stamp contains the ‘sword of light’ surrounded by celtic-revivalist designs and zoomorphic ornamentation. The ‘sword of light’ was designed by J.J.O’Reilly. The symbol comes from Celtic symbolism denoting resurgence.
The inscription reads ‘An chlaideamh Soluis’ meaning ‘Sword of light’. This stamp was originally released on December 23rd 1923 in a claret/maroon colour.