Charles I, Halfcrown, 1642-44
Ex Innisfree Collection

The ‘Blacksmiths Money’ is so called due to its crude manufacture, produced during a turbulent and rebellious period for Ireland. Rebellion broke out in 1641 in response to two Protestant Lords Justices preventing a bill passing through Irish parliament to alleviate Catholic grievances. The following year an ever growing Irish Catholic rebel force supported King Charles following the outbreak of civil war between Royal supporters and the English parliament. The Irish Catholics established their own council, the Catholic Confederacy, at Kilkenny in 1642 and began to strike their own coinage to fund and support the movement. The coins imitate royal designs of halfcrowns, halfpence and farthings. The issue was followed by other ‘Cities in Refuge’ producing their own coinage. Much like the English provincial and siege coinages of the reign of Charles I, the issues of the Confederate Catholics provide a strong historical and emotive link to a tumultuous period for the British Isles.