Since An Post is a private corporation, albeit owned by the government, it has the freedom to compete with other private firms in areas not traditionally entered by the government-run post office. One of these is illustrated post card sales. An Post sells both postcards and postal cards. The postcards which normally consist of a picture on one side and on the reverse a small space for a message, the written address, and the stamp. An Post also sells postal cards, which includes the stamp printed on the card. This puts An Post in a unique niche unavailable to commercial vendors. In this article, post cards will be discussed. Postal cards are covered in another entry.
There are many topics covered on post cards. One interesting area is that of St Patrick’s Day cards. It is appropriate to send greeting to friends and relatives wishing them an enjoyable holiday. (Figure 1). Another, and related theme is that of Peace.(Figure 2)
Ireland has many scenic areas. This is what the tourist wants - demands. Some people collect the cards; others send them to friends and relations, while other purchase them in lieu of taking a picture. (Figure 3). One sheep is interesting; two can be also. When you are held up by a “sheep-jam” it is annoying, but novel to city dwellers. (Figure 4). By the way, if some of these scenes seem familiar, they were also subjects for stamps, and have been used as “maximum cards. Photographing marine life isn’t easy; here is where a postcard is handy. (Figure 5).
Historical events can be documented, such as the end of the first trans-Atlantic flight at Clifden. (Figure 6). The narrow gauge trains of the West Clare line are long gone, but live on in cards of interest to ferroequineologists (train buffs). (Figure 7). The scene “Love at First Bite” (Figure 8) recalls that the thriller “Dracula” was written by Dubliner Bram Stoker. Has it been over a century for the Golfing Union of Ireland? This is a sport of interest to both natives and tourists (Figure 9). For those seeking something a little less demanding physically, but possibly more hazardous to one’s finances, the “Sport of Kings” is seen here (Figure 10).
The postcard can express an idea. How else could the International Cartoon Festival be shown? (Figure 11). A mood or feeling can also be shown as seen on the card for our fellow collector’s group, the FAI’s 65th anniversary. (Figure 12).
The postcard serves as part of the marketing of Ireland, and a financial boost for An Post revenues.
Jung, Otto, Postal Stationery of Ireland, FAI, Vol. 30, 2012