I've had the ITG 1987 book for a a good number of months and from that I could see that 7107, 7110 and 7157 were the Open Firsts or Super Standards (not sure when IÉ changed the designation).
Then in roaming Google I came across a picture of 7140, dated July 1984, branded as a First, I simply thought it had been converted to a Standard by 1987 as 7110 was converted to a Standard sometime between 1987 and 1994 according to the ITG books. This first photo isn't really clear enough to make out the seating.
Then recently I came across that very sharp photo of 7140 I linked above again dated July 1984 and again with it carrying "InterCity 1st" branding. It bothered me as it looked as though the seats didn't line up, but thanks to Mayner I now know that 7140 was reclassified as a First with no alterations to seating.
Now being July 1984, as I understand it this is when the first Mk3s entered passenger service, there being two rakes. I have not yet been able to find details out which vehicles these rakes consisted of, except a photo of a set at Cork in July 1984 shows Genny Van 7601 and I have those two photos of 7140 as a First.
Now 7107 and 7110 are apparently from the initial batch of vehicles sent over from Derby Litchurch Lane Works fully assembled (this running from 7101 to 7111), so I'm still a little confused as to how 7140 could be in service so soon, unless some Mk3s were built in 1983, and also how quickly CIE decided that only two Super Standards was insufficient and at the very least branded 7140 as one immediately prior to it entering service it seems.
I have since acquired a copy of Irish Railway Rambler, and in its section on Mk3s there is an interior shot of 7114 at Hueston in 1986, up-classed to a First with antimacassars and orange curtains! The text notes that requirements for First Class particularly on the Cork line saw not infrequent upclassing of Standards as Firsts. There is no mention of whether 7114 carried exterior branding like 7140.
So it remains to be seen if any vehicles other than 7140 were branded Firsts while essentially remaining Standards internally bar curtains etc.
I still don't understand IÉ's original plan for the Mk3s, hence why I would like to read the IRRS journals to see if there is any mention of it.
Certainly to start with until the Composites (7165-72), were built it seems that most of the Mk3 workings would've been Standard Class only, presumably with 7107 and 7110 being dedicated to the best Cork workings rather as with the CityGold vehicles after they were converted in 1993.
That's alright, I know exactly what you mean - it's so easy to misread something like that!
From The Wanderer's site, the antimacassars can be seen on the seat headrests and it can be seen that the seats line-up:
There's a photo of ex-First 7107 on the same site as well.
7110 as I mentioned seems to have been converted to a 72-Seat Standard at some point, while 7107 became a 32F/32S composite and 7157 remained a full First, both of the latter being fully declassified at some point I gather.
Certainly from some lists of Mk3 set formations from 2003-2009, neither appears to have even used as a Composite or First being formed in the Standard Class portions of sets.
Same here, I actually prefer it to 'Tippex'!