Blog: The great travels of Giraldus Cambrensis

EUROPA Stamps Stories


The competition stamp: Bealaí Poist Ársa (Ancient Postal Routes)
Name of the designer: Red&Grey
Illustration: Orlagh Murphy
Date of issue: July 16, 2020
Format: 51mm x 30mm
Name of the printer: Royal Joh. Enschedé
Issued by: An Post



On July 16, 2020, An Post issued two stamps on the theme of ‘Ancient Postal Routes’ as its contribution to European Post Offices (PostEurop) annual pan-European EUROPA philatelic project. 

Designed by Red&Grey, the stamps and FDC are based on illustrations by Orlagh Murphy.  Taking inspiration from religious art, using a quadriptych (four quadrant layout), the stamps tell the story of the journey of a letter from the letter writer to the receiver during the Middle Ages. 

The images on the first stamp (N rate) feature both the author of the message and the message being carried overseas by boat.  The images on the second stamp (W rate) feature both the message being carried over land on horseback and the delivery of the message to the recipient.

Inspired by an archival drawing, Orlagh Murphy’s illustration on the FDC depicts a map of the European travel route of Giraldus Cambrensis (c. 1146 – c.1223).  The route shows how he travelled from Dublin to Rome via Paris.

Giraldus Cambrensis was a prolific writer and influential figure in the twelfth century Renaissance, a period of social, political and economic transformation in Europe.  He wrote ‘Topographia Hiberniae’ as an account of the landscape and people of Ireland, circa 1188.

Additional information:
Paper: TR 102gsm Yellow Green Phosphor PVA gum
Colour: Multicolour
Make-up: Sheetlets of 9
Perforations: 13.25 x 14
Printing Process: Lithography

View and Vote for Your Favourite EUROPA Stamp Today

We invite you to view all the beautiful entries and vote for your favourite stamp on The online competition will end on 9 September 2020 and the winning stamps will be announced at the PostEurop Plenary Assembly to be held on October 2020.

More about EUROPA Stamps
Since 1956, EUROPA stamps have been a symbol of Europe’s desire for closer integration and co-operation. These special stamps are issued by the European postal administrations/enterprises and bears the EUROPA logo, a PostEurop registered trademark. Since 1993, PostEurop has been the responsible organisation for issuing EUROPA stamps and each year, philately experts within the Philately working group organise the competition amongst other philately initiatives. See more information on


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Cynthia Wee-Neumann
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