Up until now, Ireland has not had a postcode system for postal addresses. This sometime made the ordering of goods from abroad quite tricky, as even our neighbours in the UK were confused that we didn’t use postcodes.
At the end of June 2015 an organisation called Eircode will be rolling out postcodes to 2.2 million homes and businesses across the republic.
The format of the new Eircode will be a 3-digit alphanumeric ‘routing key’, followed by a 4-digit alphanumeric ‘unique identifier’. The routing key will identify the area you live in, and in Dublin it will mirror the current postal district codes (D2, D6W, D15, etc.) The unique identifier will be a random selection of numbers and letters that identify your house or apartment. The unique identifiers of neighbours will bear no relation to each other, and cannot be used to infer a neighbourhood or street.
The Routing Key will always start with a letter A, C, D, E, F, H, K, N, P, R, T, V, W, X or Y, and will be followed by two numeric digits (0-9) – except for the area of the D6W where the letter W is valid on the 3rd digit.
The Unique Identifier will comprise a mixture of letters and/or numbers – letters A, C, D, E, F, H, K, N, P, R, T, V, W, X or Y, and numbers 0-9. No two houses in the same street will have a similar codes, and no two houses of the same name will have a similar code.
Hopefully the new postcode system will allow the more accurate routing of the emergency services and postal/courier services – and hopefully it’ll be adopted into satnav systems, to help the rest of us navigate more successfully.
Update 13th July 2015: The Eircode postal code system officially launched today, and you can look yours up using the Eircode Finder.
PinLogic are an Irish company based in Co Mayo that are trying to help couriers and delivery drivers locate their customers easily and efficiently.
The service makes use of the GPS location tracking available in smartphones to pinpoint exactly where a customer is located, so that delivery drivers don’t waste time and fuel driving around trying to find an address.
The delivery driver uses a smartphone app to send an SMS to the customer. The customer then clicks on a URL in the SMS, which opens a web page. The web page then uses the GPS in the phone to find the location, and sends it to the delivery driver. The exact location is then plotted on a map in the driver’s app.
It’s quite a simple idea, but an effective one – and it could be especially useful for rural deliveries, or where a driver isn’t familiar with an area. And with Ireland’s supposed new postcode system not showing any signs of appearing soon, this is a great solution.
However, I would like to see the service expanded to include more customer information. At present the service is focused on providing an accurate location to a delivery driver. But as anyone who’s ever waited in at home for a delivery knows well, it would also be great if the customer could track where the delivery driver is located.
Hailo seem to do this two-way information quite well. The taxi driver gets an accurate pickup location when the cab is booked, and the passenger can also track the approaching taxi and keep an eye out for it.
Yesterday afternoon I arrived home on a flight from Edinburgh, and had to queue for 25 minutes at Passport Control in Dublin Airport. When I fly the other way, into the UK from Ireland, there’s no passport checks when I arrive. So why am I forced to go through Passport Control in Dublin?
Ireland and the UK have what is called a “common travel area” that is meant to allow people to travel freely between the two countries without having to show their passport – and includes everyone travelling between Ireland and Britain, and Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Unfortunately in 1997 the Irish government changed the law so that the rule about not requiring passengers to present a passport only applies to Irish and British citizens. People from other countries (including other EU nationals) are required to present their passport when arriving in Ireland.
And because a flight or ferry from the UK will probably include people who are not Irish or British, then everyone has to be checked when they arrive.
And although all passengers have to go through Passport Control, if you are Irish or British you don’t actually need to show your passport. Your only requirement is to satisfy the Immigration Officers (who are members of the Garda Síochána) that you have travelled from within the common travel area (your boarding card should suffice) and that you are an Irish or British citizen.
Of course, the easiest way to prove you a Irish or British citizen is to show your passport! But according to the citizen’s information you just need to show any form of photographic ID to prove who you are, such as a driver’s licence, bus pass, or work ID. However none of these other forms of photographic ID show your nationality, so I don’t know how that’s supposed to work.
Update 19/03/2014: The Nexus 5 and 7 are now available to purchase SIM-free direct from the Google Play Store in Ireland. The Nexus 5 is also available as part of a contract from Three Ireland and Meteor.
I’ve written about how I’ve ordered the Nexus 4 in the past, and a few minutes after the Nexus 5 was released to the public today I had already ordered one for myself, and I thought I’d share how I did it:
To access the Google Play store to order the phone you need to appear as if you’re in the UK. For this you need to use a VPN or Proxy service. I use VPNUK to access the play store, and they have a 7-day free trial if you want to give them a go – but any similar service will do – lots of other people seem to use “Tunnel Bear”. If you already have an active Google account, you may need to use the privacy/incognito mode of your browser, as sometimes the Google browser cookies will continue to identify you as being in Ireland even when you use the VPN.
You need to have a credit/debit card that is registered to a valid UK address, but it doesn’t have to be the same address as you’re using for delivery. I’ve heard of people that re-register their Irish credit card with a UK address, use PayPal, or use a UK prepaid credit card, but I can’t comment on whether any of those work.
The Nexus 5 is available in both Black and White, and is priced at £299 for the 16GB model and £339 model – and both come pre-loaded with the latest version 4.4 (KitKat) of Android.