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Listen back: 'A century of Irish stamps'

16 August 2023

To help us celebrate National Heritage Week 2023, Stephen Ferguson, An Post Archivist & Museum Curator delivered a lunchtime lecture at RIA Library on Ireland’s stamps and changing national image.

About the lecture

Shortly after independence in 1922, the new Irish 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 traces 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 lecture was recorded on 17 May 2023 and due to popular demand was held again during Heritage Week on 15 August 2023.

About the speaker

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, The Irish Post Office – an illustrated history and, most recently, Bessbrook to Ballinadee, a postal tour of Ireland.

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