The most remarkable thing about the arrival of euro was that it was so unremarkable. More than 200 million new banknotes and 900 million coins started to circulate and the old Irish money started to disappear, with hardly a hitch.
One of the more interesting transactions was when the Bank of Ireland mistakenly gave a gentleman several hundred thousand euro valued as Irish pounds.
Robberies seemed to be down and it had been clear from the beginning that the new notes are among the most difficult to forge and the easiest to check.
This success gave a huge psychological boost to those in charge of the euro but it was not to last.
Within days of the launch there were complaints of euro “ripoffs.” Traders, it seemed, were not just rounding up but raising prices and then rounding up. In Germany, the new money was christened the “teuro,” a pun on the German word for “dear.”
The European Central Bank commissioned a study. It found that the prices of things which people noticed most, like a coffee or a meal out, had gone up the most. Coffee was a particular gripe.
The tourism industry was also affected because the euro effect is just as obvious to visitors, but in the opposite direction. The decline in tourist numbers last year was most marked in European visitors.