Not a lot is known about the early history of playing cards in Ireland, but during the nineteenth century playing cards were being produced in Dublin (John Young), Cork and Limerick. From the surviving specimens these were crudely drawn and the court cards often turned the wrong way for no apparent reason. During the twentieth century the Irish Playing Card Manufacturing Company (Cork) and The Ormond Printing Co. Ltd (Dublin) were producing cards for the Irish market, and subsequently there have been advertising, tourist souvenir packs and also art and design packs manufactured in Ireland and abroad.
It is enjoyable to recognise traces of Celtic decorative patterns in Irish playing card designs. Formerly the Celts inhabited central and western Europe long before the Christian era but ultimately they were confined to Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man and Brittany.
The Celts loved personal splendour and self-display as well as fighting. Surviving examples of their art include shields, swords, manuscripts, metalwork, jewelry, poetry and literature. Irish playing card designers often take their inspiration from these sources.
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Curator 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.
Promotional pack for a Dutch Celtic folk band which performs Irish, Scottish and Dutch folk music, c.2004.
Irish Legendary deck featuring figures in the Legends of Ireland, designed by Rachel Arbuckle, 1990.
Classic Guinness Posters, 1999.
Les Grandes Figures de L’Histoire Bretonne
Lovely Day for a Guinness deck published by Shamrock Gift Co Dublin.
Scottish Legends playing cards illustrated by Mark Oxbrow. published by R Somerville, Edinburgh, 1998.
Selected views of Ireland Souvenir playing cards published by the Irish Tourist Association, 1950s
Celtic Myth playing cards are the third and final set of cards in a series based around the themes of Celtic mythology and society.
“Kuningas Artturin Ritarit” (King Arthur’s Knights) playing cards designed by Mauri Kunnas
Celtic myth playing cards inspired by the rich Celtic pantheon of mythological Gods, Goddesses, and heroes
Jeu de Cartes “Bretagne” conveying their cultural identity.
Irish Historic Playing Cards celebrating history and art, 1920.
Quantum playing cards designed by Catherine Geaney.
A set of cards to help bring awareness to old and infrequently used languages, created by E Brewstein. Each card in the pack also functions as a mini language lesson, great for playing games and also learning about Irish heritage.
Inner Realms was conceived from sacred geometry that inspired me to create and then pick out pieces of that design that amazed me, or inspired me to create another design...
During the 1930s The Ormond Printing Co. Ltd produced playing cards for the Irish market with a distinctive ace of spades, joker and court cards. In 1935 the firm was acquired as a manufacturing facility for Waddington’s cards in Eire.
Feardiadh at the Ford jig-saw book with illustration by Kathleen Ennis, c.1940.
Irish Playing Card Manufacturing Company.
Irish souvenir playing cards. The Joker has the inscription W.O., Dublin.
Celtic Journey playing cards - where art and culture meet - designed by Carmen G. Carballeira, 2011
A deck of cards to raise awareness of the Irish Hospice Foundation.
Catherine Kelly, M.A. Paint and Print, B.A. History of Art and Fine Art Painting, is an artist working in Dublin
The costumes and details of this pack are in the spirit of "The Heroic Period of Irish History".
Playing card designs based on motifs from early Irish manuscripts and metalwork.
During the nineteenth century playing cards were being produced in Dublin, Cork and Limerick.