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Published July 03, 1996 Updated April 26, 2022

Irish Heroic

The costumes and details of this pack are in the spirit of "The Heroic Period of Irish History".

1919 Ireland Goodall W & G Baird Ltd Irish Decorative Art Association Celtic Add to Collection

Irish “Heroic” Playing Cards, 1919

designed and drawn on stone by Irish artists of the Irish Decorative Art Association

The costumes and details of this pack are in the spirit of “The Heroic Period of Irish History”.

Published by: W. & G. Baird Ltd (Belfast), and manufactured by Chas Goodall & Son Ltd. (London), 1919. A similar "Irish Historic" pack was also published.

Above: the Kings and Queens are characters from the most famous Irish romances, myth and legends, and also represent the four provinces of Ireland, whilst the Jacks are charioteers. The cards were printed in London by Charles Goodall & Son Ltd; a later slightly different printing with the court cards substantially redrawn was produced by the Irish Playing Card Mfg Co., Cork.

box from Irish Heroic Playing Cards, 1919

‘Bricriu’ the Joker (“of the venom tongue”) was the chief cowherd of Queen Maeve, a satirist, poet and a notorious mischief maker.

See also:  Irish ‘Historic’ pack

References: Goodall, Michael H.: "The Fennell series of Irish Heroic & Historic Playing Cards" in The Playing-Card, Journal of the IPCS, Vol.37, No.3, 2009, pp.169-175.

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

Founder and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.


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