Official Mail – Drunken Harps. [028]

With the formation of the Republic in 1949, there came a need for a new national identification phrase or symbol for official documents and official mail. A pictogram of the Harp of Tara was selected. (Figure 1). This picture shows the harp facing left in a sideways view. When displayed properly, the harp has the strings in a vertical position.

Unfortunately, when sent to the printer, no guidance was given regarding positioning. Some covers and documents were correct. Others, however, had the strings at various angles.(Figures 2 and 3).

The press noted the discrepancies, and referred to them as “Drunken Harps” making the similarity to drunks leaning on lightpoles at various angles.

The Taoisech, Mr deValera, immediately sent direct guidance to the printers regarding the position of the strings. It took two such blasts to clear out all the incorrect stereos from printer’s stocks. Of course, the press had fun reporting the fiasco, much to the chagrin of the Taoisech.