Review: Central Bank of Ireland Visitor Centre


The Central Bank of Ireland moved from its old HQ in Dame Street, Dublin to a new premises in North Wall Quay earlier this year. One of the exciting features (for coin and banknote collectors) is their new Visitor Centre.

It has wheelchair ramps and it very family friendly, with plenty of room to amble through the various exhibits. The only thing I didn’t like about it was the lack of a retail counter for collectors, i.e. Central Bank collectibles such as proof sets, BU sets, commemorative coins and mint bags. The Central Bank should, in my opinion, review this shortcoming in their otherwise excellent offering.

There are currently two exhibitions in the space :-

Exhibit 1 – Pounds, Shillings & Independence

A display from the Central Bank of Ireland's "Pounds, Shillings & Independence" exhibition at their new Visitor Centre, North Wall Quay, Dublin

A display from the Central Bank of Ireland’s “Pounds, Shillings & Independence” exhibition at their new Visitor Centre, North Wall Quay, Dublin

  • This exhibit tells the story of the development of Ireland’s currency following the establishment of Saorstát Éireann in 1922.
    • There is a very informative audio-visual programme on a widescreen TV, narrating the design competition for the first Saorstat Eireann coins of 1927-28
    • In addition, there is a wonderful display of the plaster casts of the various coin designs – including those rejected by the competition judges
  • It celebrates the work of the Currency Commission, which was established in 1927 to design, issue, manage and control an entirely new and independent Irish currency.
    • This includes an exhibit of the first Irish banknotes
      • Currency Commission Banknotes
      • The Consolidated Banks “promissory” issues (a.k.a. Ploughman notes)
      • Central Bank of Ireland – A, B and C series

Exhibit 2 – European Central Bank’s ‘Euro Exhibition’

A display from the European Central Bank's "Currency" exhibition at the Central Bank of Ireland's new Visitor Centre, North Wall Quay, Dublin

A display from the European Central Bank’s “Currency” exhibition at the Central Bank of Ireland’s new Visitor Centre, North Wall Quay, Dublin

  • This exhibit takes visitors on a tour of euro currency, from its beginnings back in history, to the single currency we use today.
    • This includes a display of the “old” banknotes of the EuroZone countries
    • It is interesting to see the now obsolete currencies, the denominations and the national designs – featuring their most famous and/or important people of the past
  • The exhibition has several distinct elements, focusing on euro banknotes, euro coins, security features, the overall history of money and there is also a kids’ corner for the younger guests.

The Visitor Centre is open to the public from 10.00am to 4.00pm weekdays and is a pleasant walk down the quays from O’Connell Bridge. Overall, I think its a wonderful way to wile away an hour or so.

There are public car parking facilities at the Dublin Convention Centre nearby, and the 151 (Dublin Bus) stops outside the Central Bank.  In addition, there are lots of places to eat nearby in the newest part of Dublin – the new Financial District !

Other tourist attractions in the immediate vicinity include :-

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