Shops in Clones has been accepting old punts for the purchase of goods.
In the course of that answer I wrote that the Central Bank in Dublin were still changing the old punt notes for a considerable number of years after the ceased to be legal tender and speculated that they might still, do so!
Well, it appears that the Central Bank still do this because, when listening to the radio one morning recently, I heard a report about shops in Clones, County Monaghan accepting old punts for the purchase of goods, with the organiser of the scheme taking the old currency to Dublin to have them exchanged.
The shop keeper who was talking about the scheme did not say if they were still exchanging punt coins but I got the impression they were taking at last the one pound coins.
The exchange system in Clones is a bit complicated, as it involves giving Euro vouchers as change, with even pounds sterling being used, but 41 businesses are taking part and it seems to be working well!
Basically they are allowing €1.20 for each old £1 offered and the vouchers can be used to purchase others goods in any of the businesses in the scheme.
Dundalk people have always believed that Monaghan people were clever traders and that, it seems, is particularly true in relation to people from Clones.
I wonder, however, where all the old punts have come from in a relatively small place like the North Monaghan town to make it work?
It seems that the old currency being used had been kept mainly as souvenirs, while other notes and coins had been left in boxes and drawers and forgotten about until this scheme was thought of last January.
There was even some mention of the old punts being found at the back of sofas and armchairs!
Then I got to thinking that, if thousands of old punts had surfaced in Clones over the past three months, as was stated, how much more could there be secreted away in a much larger town like Dundalk?
So, why not get searching in your old treasure chests, in boxes, drawers and other forgotten places – to see if you can get into the Clones ‘Punt Rush’ while it lasts!