The euro currency
The euro is the single currency used in 19 EU member states, including Ireland.
The 19 countries in the euro area are: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
If you have cash in the former currency of one of these countries, it may be possible to exchange it for euro.
Euro notes and coins have security features you can use to check for counterfeit cash.
Exchanging old banknotes and coins
The Central Bank of Ireland will exchange old Irish banknotes (Irish Pounds or Punts) and coins for euro. The conversion rate between the euro and the Irish Pound is €1 = £0.787564.
You can visit the Central Bank by appointment or you can send Irish banknotes to the Central Bank by registered post. The Central Bank issues the value in euro by transfer to a bank account.
If you have cash in the former national currency of another country in the euro area, it may be possible to exchange it for euro. This is done only by the national central banks. Some countries have time limits on the exchange of former national currency for euro.
The Central Bank of Ireland has information about how to check if a banknote or coin is counterfeit.
If you suspect that money you have is counterfeit, you must give it to your bank, the Gardaí or the Central Bank so that it can be checked. You should get a receipt so that you can be refunded the amount if the banknote or coin is genuine. You will not be reimbursed if it is counterfeit.
History of the euro
The euro came into being in cashless form on 1 January 1999 when 11 EU member states permanently locked the exchange rates of their currencies against the euro.
Greece joined the euro area in 2001 and euro notes and coins were put into circulation in the 12 EU states on 1 January 2002. Seven other states adopted the euro in the following years:
- Slovenia – 2007
- Malta and Cyprus – 2008
- Slovakia – 2009
- Estonia – 2011
- Latvia – 2014
- Lithuania – 2015
The European Central Bank has further information about the euro.