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Stamp issue marks Centenary of Saorstát Éireann

6 December 2022

Catherine Martin, TD, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media has unveiled a stamp commemorating the Centenary of the Establishment of Saorstát Éireann, designed by Irish artist Brian Gallagher.

Today, 6th December, is also special day for Irish stamps. Exactly 100 years ago the first Irish stamp, the well-known 2d green Map of Ireland stamp was issued by the newly independent Irish Post Office and Irish stamps have been charting the changing face of Ireland and Irish society ever since.
 
Saorstát Éireann (the Irish Free State) was established on December 6, 1922, under the terms of the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty which ended the War of Independence. Comprising 26 counties, the Irish Free State became a self-governing dominion of the British Commonwealth of Nations.
 
An Post, working with Business-to-Arts, issued an open call to artists to enter a stamp design competition, challenging them to mark the centenary with a piece of original art, which would appear on a national stamp.  The open call received entries from over 100 professional artists across a variety of media.  An independent judging panel selected Brian Gallagher from among a range of talented artists and exceptional artwork.  He received a bursary of €10,000 and his stamp marking the centenary of the establishment of the Irish Free State takes its place among the 2022 national stamp programme, produced by An Post on behalf of the State. 
 
The painting, with additional design by Ger Garland, features various symbolic element: corncrakes emerging from a meadow – suggesting freedom/new beginnings; an old cracked tower house with frayed tricolour—signifying the long difficult road to some form of Irish independence and the already evident divisions caused by civil war, nationalism and unionism. 
 
Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht. Sport and Media TD Catherine Martin said: “Unveiling this stamp today, coupled with the wide-ranging and considered centenary conference held at UCD over the weekend and other initiatives and events being held by the local authorities in the community, each prompt us to take a moment to reflect on and deepen our understanding of the individuals, communities and events that shaped the path to this pivotal and significant milestone, the Foundation of the State."
 
Louise O’Reilly, CEO of Business to Arts said: 'An Post has a long history of working with Irish artists to commemorate, celebrate, and educate through postage stamp artwork. Business to Arts was proud to run this open call commission in 2021 and receive such a broad range of interpretations of the founding of Saorstát Éireann from artists. This bursary, awarded to Brian Gallagher, demonstrates how art can capture history, emotion, and ambition even at small scale.'
 

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