Brian Warren brings us part one of a fascinating
look at Irish people honoured with stamps in other countries.


In 1979. I read a philatelic article entitled “Its an Irish World” written by Norah Wright. The article captured my imagination and inspired me to form a collection of stamps which feature Irish men and women from countries other than Ireland.

The earliest set of stamps to feature an Irishman was issued by Bulgaria in 1920. James David Bouchier (1850-1919) was born in Bruff, Co. Limerick. He gave up a career in teaching and became a correspondent for The Times in the Balkans.
He was particularly supportive of the Bulgarians in their rising against the Turks in 1903, and was honoured by a nine-stamp set, issued in 1921. The 10 lev value in orange shows him in Bulgarian costume.

Margaret E. Noble (1867 -1911) was born in Dungannon, Co. Tyrone. She met Swami Vivekananda, an Indian Hindu monk in 1895 in London and, moved to Calcutta in 1898. She converted to Hinduism as Sister Nivedita meaning “the offered one”.
She was a pioneer in girls’ education and provided health services to the poor. She was the first Irishwoman to appear on a foreign stamp when India issued a 20p stamp in 1968 to mark her birth centenary (issued a year late).

A number of Irishman have been honoured for their part in the achievement of the independence of the country of their adoption – particularly in the Americas. William Brown (b. Foxford, Co. Mayo in 1777) was the founder of the Argentine Navy and has appeared on numerous Argentinean stamp issues since 1935.

Continuing on the maritime theme, the first Irishman to appear on a U.S. stamp, in 1936, was Commodore John Barry (at right on 1c stamp) who was born in Co. Wexford in 1745. He is considered the Father of the American Navy. In 1776, in the brig Lexington, as illustrated on the stamp, he seized the British ship HMS Edward, the first warship to be captured by the American Navy during the War of Independence.

Another navy man who was honoured by Royal Mail is Andrew Browne Cunningham, 1st Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope (1883–1963). A Royal Navy Admiral of the Second World War, he was born in Rathmines in the south side of Dublin and features on the 29p value in a Maritime Heritage set issued in 1982.

Ambrose O’Higgins (b. Ballynary, Co. Sligo c1720) became Captain General of Chile and Viceroy of Peru. His son Bernardo (not born in Ireland) was known as the “Liberator” of much of South America from Spanish rule. Chile and Equator featured father and son on their stamps.

Daniel Florence O’Leary (b. Cork – 1801) also saw military action in South America and was aide-de-camp to Simon Boliviar.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own