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.
The stamps here are the ‘sword of light’ and the map of Ireland designs in 5 penny and 1 penny denominations respectively. Both stamps include traditional celtic-revivalist designs. The 5 penny, cúig pingine, ‘sword of light’ was designed by J.J.O’Reilly. The symbol comes from earlier Celtic symbolism denoting resurgence. The inscription reads ‘An chlaideamh Soluis’ meaning ‘Sword of light’.
This stamp also includes zoomorphic ornamentation. The stamp was a re-issue of a yellow-brown version, released on May 11th, 1923 and written in 1940. The orange, one pingin, stamp contains a ‘map of Ireland’, Celtic ornamentation and two shamrocks. This design is by J. Ingram and caused controversy as it contains the entire island of Ireland causing upset to some in Northern Ireland.
This stamp was released on May 11th, 1923 and discontinued in 1940.