100 years of the Automobile Association

13/10/2010

An Post salutes AA Ireland’s 100

One hundred years of keeping Irish motorists ‘on the road’ is celebrated today by An Post with a new 55c stamp celebrating the centenary of AA Ireland.

The Automobile Association began in Ireland in 1910 at a time when the country had 90,000 km of roads but just 7,870 registered motor vehicles. Today AA Ireland boasts 550,000 customer relationships, a high tech patrols fleet, a wide range of insurance products and the renowned AA Roadwatch.

“AA Ireland has come a long way since our first meeting at College Green in 1910, and while we are very much looking ahead on the eve of our next 100 years, what better way to celebrate our legacy than with a stamp depicting one of our legendary saluting AA patrolmen,” says Pat Kiely, AA Ireland’s CEO.

The stamp and first day cover (FDC) designed by Q Design and featuring a photograph of an AA patrolman in full uniform giving the traditional AA salute may be viewed and purchased online at www.irishstamps.ie, at main post offices and the GPO Dublin.

The first AA patrols arrived in Ireland in the mid 1920’s. Their distinctive yellow and black combination motorcycles were the country’s first rescue service for motorists and the predecessors of today’s modern fleet.  The patrols would literally traverse along a given route watching out for any AA members in trouble or in need of help. Until the entire fleet was mechanized at the end of the decade, some AA Patrols made their rounds by bicycle!

During World War I and the Irish War of Independence, private motoring virtually stopped, but in 1924, two years after the Irish Free State came into being, the AA was revived. It issued the first road book of Ireland in 1931. By 1950, the organisation had 19,200 members.

Motoring and motor vehicles are popular topics with philatelists so An Post is expecting strong demand for the new stamp and First Day Cover from stamp collectors and motoring enthusiasts worldwide. 

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