Belfast Telegraph

‘So many stories’ in new NI bank notes

World-renowned Ulster Glade celebrated in new designs

Ulster Bank’s new £5 and £10 polymer bank notes should prick the curiosity of the public in some little-known, but highly interesting local stories, according to the consultant who advised on their creation.

Jeni Lennox from design agency Nile says that she hopes Northern Ireland people will celebrate the new notes, which are due to be brought into circulation in early 2019, and the stories behind their design.

The first main issue vertical bank notes in the UK and Ireland, they were designed through a collaboration between the bank, the printer De La Rue, and people from Northern Ireland.

They are based on the theme ‘Living in Nature’ and were developed with a panel of experts, which included botanists, geologists, creatives, business people, academics, and others.

The designs were revealed at an event in Belfast before the summer and the bank is getting ready to bring them into circulation early in 2019.

The £5 note focuses on Northern Ireland as a place that people pass through and visit, highlighting the importance of the sea and migration and features Strangford lough and Brent Geese.

The £10 note focuses on Northern Ireland as a place of growth, both in terms of agriculture and heritage, and features Lough Erne, the Irish hare and Guelder-rose shrubs.

Jeni Lennox, designer with Nile, says: “The story of the Ulster Glade potato is one of my particular favourites. John Clarke from Ballintoy on the North Antrim coast became a world recognised expert on the science of potato-breeding, producing more than 30 varieties which are grown and traded in the industry. One of his most famous is the Ulster Glade.

“It was released in 1962 and was one of the first in the world to have resistance to a prominent potato pest. John was respected by scientists nationally and internationally and won many accolades. The inclusion of the Ulster Glade in the new £10 note design is a tribute to him and his work, as well as recognition of the importance of the potato in the history of the island of Ireland.”

“I also loved finding out more about the flora that play a central role in the Northern Ireland landscape which is criss-crossed by thousands of miles of field boundaries, creating a characteristic green patchwork of small fields. Often taken for granted, the hedgerows, such as Hawthorn and Blackthorn, are an extremely important natural resource, supporting Ulster’s bio-diversity by providing shelter for a wide range of insects, birds and animals, and often containing a rich mix of plant species.

“The £5 note also, for instance, includes fishing boats and shellfish from Strangford Lough, paying tribute to the incredible tidal flow into the lough which brings the nutrients that enable the shellfish to be the world-class food that they are.

“Overall, working on the notes was a genuine pleasure. Our task was to find the distinctive voice of Northern Ireland and to express this across four bank note ‘scamps’. With the magical graphic design skills of Neil Wallace of O Street, expert guidance from local creative directors Lisa Smyth of Shesaid and Colin McCadden, and our panel of experts to keep us right, I feel that we have been able to do this. I very much look forward to them coming into circulation early next year,” she adds.

Find out more about ways you can bank with Ulster Bank here

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