Ireland Spain Stamp Issue

06/11/2008

An Post dances to Spanish beat

Spanish Ambassador to Ireland, Her Excellency Mercedes Rico today launched the first joint stamp issue between Ireland and Spain celebrating popular dances from both countries.

mini sheetThe 55c Irish stamp features an illustration of an Irish dancer by Conor Walton with typography and layout by Design Tactics.  The 82c Spanish design is based on a photograph of a flamenco dancer by Jesus Sanchez.   Both stamps will appear on a miniature sheet issued jointly by An Post and Correos de Espana.

Irish dancing is generally accepted to have begun with the Druids and the tradition developed throughout the 18th century. After years of suppression, Irish dance was revived at the end of the 19th Century as part of the Celtic Renaissance. The Irish Dancing Commission was then set up in 1929, establishing the rules for dance competitions and standardising methods of teaching.

55c stampRiverdance and similar spectacular shows have pushed Irish dancing to the forefront of worldwide attention in recent years. At home, feiseanna or competitions are held regularly with winners from local competitions competing in the annual All-Ireland Championships.  The World Irish Dancing Championships are also held annually and attract entrants from all over the world.

As with Irish dancing, the origins of Spanish flamenco dancing are somewhat of a mystery, but the dance is thought to have begun around 1492, combining a number of different cultures.  The Spanish Gypsy tradition is widely credited with helping flamenco to spread, survive and flourish, due to their nomadic lifestyle.

Through the 18th and 19th centuries, flamenco was performed in café and theatre dance by professional artistes and by the 1950s commercialisation came close to debasing the entire genre as Spain became a popular tourist destination.

Helped by the flamenco festivals of the 1960’s and 80’s a revival of interest in flamenco as an art form then developed. Flamenco is fiercely popular today, in Ireland and the world over. Thousands of visitors gather each year in Jerez de la Frontera in southern Spain to celebrate in style.

The Irish Popular Dances stamp and minisheet is available from the GPO philatelic shop (01-705 7400) and selected post offices or online at www.irishstamps.ie

Download pdf of the mini sheet (1 mb, new window)
Download pdf of the 55c stamp (3 mb, new window)

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