Thursday, May 26, 2011

Visit to Ireland

Today I visited the A thousand years of Irish coins and currency exhibit at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.

It features a good collection of Irish coins and related material from the 10th century through the Euro. The photograph is of the most surprising feature: one of the ramps features a hollow handrail which has been filled with old coins.

There are a few Roman and medieval coins at the Irish Archaeology Museum but I did not find them exciting. The earliest two Roman coins on display were misidentified. The first one, an impressive aes grave is labeled as depicting Janus. It looked like Zeus to me but I suspect it is the bearded man that numismatists call Saturn. Either way, it cannot be Janus because Janus would have two heads.

The only coin shop in Dublin (actually a stall in the Georges Street Arcade) is Lír Coins & Collectables. No ancients were offered and only a few hammered could be found. The stock is mostly coins of the Irish Republic and of Great Britain.

Irish Mint products can be purchased at the Central Bank of Ireland on Dame street. I went there on the day of Obama's visit. The teller at the collectable coins window was happy to show me the items available for purchase (which are the same items as the web site offers).

I tried to get a roll of circulating euro coins at a regular bank but they did not know the term 'roll'. Irish banks keep Euro coins in plastic bags. The 2 cent bag contains 100 pieces.