Irish Family History Society

Connecting People With Their Irish Roots

Heritage Week Lecture ” A Century of Irish Stamps” by Stephen Ferguson

15 Aug 2023 @ 13:00 – 14:00
Royal Irish Academy
19 Dawson St
Dublin 2, D02 HH58

You are cordially invited to the below Heritage Week lecture which will be held in-person in the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin on Tuesday 15 August 2023.


Heritage Week lecture – A century of Irish stamps


Tuesday 15 August 2023, 13:00 – 14:00


Royal Irish Academy, 19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2


Free, places are limited and advance booking through Eventbrite is recommended.


We are delighted to welcome Stephen Ferguson from An Post Museum & Archive back to Academy House for National Heritage Week.

Shortly after independence in 1922, the new government turned its attention to the design of stamps to replace the contemporary British stamps then is use. Over the years since then, Irish identity, culture and aspirations have been expressed through the medium of these miniature masterpieces with postage stamps acting as our ambassadors throughout the world. Long before the advent of the postage stamp, however, the idea of a stamp as a form of tax was well-known and the Academy’s library holds a remarkable album of eighteenth-century revenue stamps which can, in a sense, be seen as the world’s very first stamp album. Highlighting such connections between the Academy and Irish stamps, Stephen Ferguson will trace the changing nature of Ireland’s image from the conservative and inward-looking era of the early Free State, to the more confident, socially progressive, and tech-savvy nation of today.

Since he joined the old Department of Posts & Telegraphs, Stephen Ferguson has worked in many areas of the Post Office and is now An Post’s Company Archivist and Museum Curator. He has written and lectured widely on aspects of Post Office history and is the author of The Irish post box: silent servant and symbol of the state (An Post; Dublin, 2009); The post office in Ireland – an illustrated history (Irish Academic Press; Newbridge, 2016); and Bessbrook to Ballinadee, a postal tour of Ireland (An Post, Dublin).


The ‘Window on the Irish soul – 100 years of Irish stamps’ exhibition compliments the small digital exhibition released on 6 December 2022 which commemorated the centenary anniversary of the Anglo-Irish treaty when the newly independent Irish Post Office issued the first official Irish stamp – the well-known twopenny green map of Ireland design. The exhibition is free to visit, and available to view in the Meeting Room of the Royal Irish Academy until 30 August 2023. Open Monday to Friday 10:00-13:00, 14:00-17:00.


In November 2021, An Post Museum & Archive published the ‘Post Office Irish Postage Stamp Collection’ on the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI). This collection features an extensive range of stamps reflecting the development of the country, both historic and artistic, over the century since Irish independence. The collection is divided into sub-collections featuring stamps from the following periods: 1922–19831984–20002001–2010; and 2011–2019.