The Royal Irish Academy/Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann champions research. We identify and recognise Ireland’s world class researchers. We support scholarship and promote awareness of how science and the humanities enrich our lives and benefit society. We believe that good research needs to be promoted, sustained and communicated. The Academy is run by a Council of its members. Membership is by election and considered the highest academic honour in Ireland.

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Exhibition: Window on the Irish soul – 100 years of Irish stamps


Monday, May 8, 2023, 10:00 - Wednesday, August 30, 2023, 17:00


The Royal Irish Academy, 19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2


A new exhibition at the Royal Irish Academy Library in collaboration with An Post Museum & Archive celebrating 100 years of Irish stamps

Window on the Irish Soul is a new exhibition at the Royal Irish Academy Library in collaboration with the An Post Museum and Archive celebrating 100 years of Irish stamps and displaying material from the heritage collections of both institutions. The exhibition features one of the earliest stamp albums - a unique collection of Irish revenue stamps collated in 1774.

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. This exhibition, curated with An Post’s Stephen Ferguson, highlights connections between the Academy and Irish stamps by tracing 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.

This exhibition complements a digital collaboration between An Post and the Royal Irish Academy in late 2022 which culminated in an online exhibition to commemorate 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.

Please note: The exhibition will be closed from Monday, 31 July to Friday, 11 August during the RIA Library's annual stocktake. It will reopen to visitors on Monday, 14 August and will remain open Monday - Friday, 10am - 5pm until Wednesday, 30 August 2023.

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