What is the Currency of Ireland?

By Sharon Omondi on August 1 2017 in Economics

Ireland uses the Euro.

The island of Ireland uses two different currencies depending on where someone is staying or visiting. The two currencies are the Euro and the Pound Sterling. The republic of Ireland uses the Euro which is normally symbolized by € as its currency. On the other hand, the currency used in Northern Ireland is the Pound Sterling normally symbolized by £. Just as the US Dollar is written as USD, the Ireland Euro’s code is EUR and the Northern Ireland Pound Sterling’s code is GBP. The currency is controlled by Ireland’s Central Bank which is found in the city of Dublin, which is the largest and capital city of Ireland.

There are different variations of the Pound Sterling notes. The reason behind this is that every bank in Northern Ireland is mandated to issue its own notes. In spite of these differences, the coins have turned out to be similar irrespective of the bank that mints them. When an individual crosses from the Republic of Ireland to Ireland or vice versa, they need to exchange their currency into an acceptable one. Foreign exchange can be done in shops, banks, gas stations, and bureau de change. The exchange is highly dependent on the current exchange rates.

History of the Euro and Pound Sterling

The European Monetary Union introduced the Euro to Ireland in January 1, 1999. Three years later, the Euro became the major currency used for daily transactions of the member states. Thus, the Euro replaced the Pound Sterling in some areas such as the Republic of Ireland. However, six counties in Northern Ireland maintained Pound Sterling as their currency. The counties were Tyrone, Antrim, Fermanagh, Down, Derry and Armagh.

Banknotes and Issues

One Euro can be sub-divided into 100 cents. The Euro coins are in denominations of 50c, 20c, 10c, 5c, 2c, €1, and €2. On the other hand, the banknotes in circulation are in denominations of €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, and €500. The Euros can be bought in ATM machines available in all cities, banks, or currency bureaus. The higher denomination notes such as €100, €200 and €500 are rarely accepted in retail outlets. The designs on the banknotes are symbolic and seek to promote architectural heritage of Europe. The windows and gateways on the face of every Euro banknote are outward signs of the European Union’s commitment to openness and cooperation. There’s a bridge at the back of each banknote.

One pound sterling consists of 100 pence. The banknotes which are used currently by the Irish are in denominations of £5, £10, £20, £50, and £100. On the other hand, the coins used are in denominations of 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p, 2p, 1p, £1, and £2.

US Dollar Exchange Rates

When the Euro and the Pound Sterling are exchanged, 1 EUR is equivalent to 1.129 USD while 1 GBP is equivalent to 1.278 USD. Therefore, the Pound Sterling is more valuable than the Euro. However, it is not as widely as the Euro which is not only used in many other parts of Ireland but also by countries of the eurozone.

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