Thursday, 6 January 2011

Irish to address postcodes issue

It looks like Ireland is to be dragged, once again, kicking and screaming, into the 20th Century. True, we are actually situated in the 21st, chronologically speaking – but easy does it. This time postcodes are the issue in question.

Ireland is the only country in the EU that does not have postcodes. Dublin is the only city that has any kind of codes at all, and even they are not proper ones; identifying only large areas without narrowing down addresses by means of a grid system. But at least you have street names and house numbers in a city. 

Imagine if you are a postie or – worse, in this case – an ambulance driver in Mayo who gets a call to pick up a seriously ill person in The Little Cottage, Shammerdoo, Co Mayo? (see left). You would have to hope it was one of the Flynns' lives at stake, and not that of an innocent person.

An Post, which is ancient Irish Gaelic for The Post, has been resisting the introduction of postcodes for years, but now, as it relents, battle is to be recommenced by Conradh na Gaelige (or CnG, the Gaelic League), the interest group whose forebears were instrumental in the establishment of our corrupt little Statelet. 

CnG last year received a hand-out from the Government of €238,186 to restore its Georgian HQ on Harcourt Street. Eamon O Cuiv – grandson of Dev – was there for the grand opening, which was followed by music and refreshments. You might think they'd have been happy with that, but no, it seems they were most likely poking their designer blackthorn sticks into the postcode issue.

As a consequence, it seems that the Cabinet is ‘split’ on the issue of basing postcodes on English – the vernacular of the country – or Gaelic, the language of Official Ireland. 

Eamon Ryan, the Green's Minister of Communications, believes that one of the most important features of the new system should be ‘memorability’ (Irish Times 4th Jan) so, naturally, he favours plumping for the latter, insofar as it does "not lead to difficulties in disseminating the postcode to the public... or other operational difficulties”. 

This stance follows the Government having “received representations from Irish Language organisations” arguing for postcode prefixes based on Gaelic. So let me see. Because the Government receives representations from a narrow interest group to do its bidding, the rest of us – and this time also those addressing letters to Ireland from abroad – have to suffer? 

If CnG and the rest had their way, Waterford would be identified by the prefix PL, rather than WD. Wicklow would be CM as opposed to WW. Dublin would be known as BAC rather than D. Wexford would be known as LC rather than WX.

“Conradh na Gaeilge Demands Irish Postcodes for an Irish Country” goes the lobby group’s clarion call press release of September 2009. Certainly it seems the Galiban mobilised early. But really, haven't we had enough of lobby groups in Ireland by now? 

What's more, are these crackpots not aware that we are an English-speaking country? 

Please, please, please, let us examine how much money we are wasting on the nonsense of Gaelic revivalism and its attendant industries in the form of State funding, grants and subsidies – and pull the plug completely. If it takes a referendum, so be it. There is all sorts of talk about reform at the minute, so maybe it is the time?

“Wexford”, “Waterford” and “Wicklow” by the way, all come from Old Norse. 

Not that the etymology matters. Clarity is the issue.
Isn't that what the introduction of postcodes is all about?

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Anonymous said...

There is big sickness in Ireland; A Psychosis with a national lack of insight that is devoid of understanding or any possibility for change.

Psychosis cannot be appealed to by reason or logic. When I was at school, a Christian Brother attempted to teach French in Irish (please do not laugh, this is true) Most of the class did not give a bugger about the Irish Language, just enough to get through the Leaving Certificate which I failed completely, because I failed Irish and was not entitled to a certificate within a baccalaureate system.

However through hard work, I later went on to graduate at St Johns College Oxford. At Christmas, my son bought me a Dave Allen DVD. It is pure philosophy about the Irish. He said: “there are two stupid countries in the world; Ireland is both of them!!


anna said...

As a public servant I alwsys to put as much clarity into the addresses I used, especially when i was sending large cheques to individuals, as opposed to businesses, EG Ryan's Bakery Glenwherever, would most likely get there, rather than Pat Ryan, Ballyvague Glenwherever: Even so when i took over cases from previous colleagues, I got a Stream of returned cheques from the postal service, very badly addressed correspondence, not helped by the fact that many villages and hundreds of townlands have the same or similar names: in fact because of this, few countries could benefit More from postcodes. UK postcodes are excellent, and have been in force for 30+ years: A postcode identifies HALF A street- so next door may have the same postcode, BUT waht amkes yiu unique is the combination of postcode + street number. Whne postcodes wer introduced to NI even rural houses were given a road number, this doesn.t have to be displayed, but it means that with your rural road number ( or of course urban one) and postcode you had an Exact and unique addrsess.
So if a postman had an incomplete address, eg P Ryan, Ballywhatever,DN88 8LP, no county and 10 towns of that name all over the country, he'd know straight away by looking at the postcode that that town was in Dublin; excellent idea postcodes nd LONG overdue

anna said...

Yes GM man I did notice these nonsensical pronouncements by CnAG; such nonsense! I COULDN’T believe it when I read that article!!
A code is just letters extracted from the main town in a region; Monaghan and Milford will both start with M- so won’t you have to add in other letters to distinguish between the 2?
The UK way is to start a code with 1st and last letters of the main postal town in a district - but for obvious reasons it doesn’t always stick to that formula.
E.G. Brighton = BN ( 1st and last letters ) but Bromley is BR ( 1st and 2nd letters) as Bromley may otherwise be similar to another town like Burnley.
However as Belfast is main postal city for NI, All NI postcodes begin with BT.
After that the next bit of code ( which is Numeric) is the town,
EG : BT35 = Newry
BT34 = Warrenpoint
I don’t know how the last 3 character bit ( which distinguishes ½ your street , or is unique to a large business, E.G., BBC, Shorts, Cadbury is generated but it is probably at random.
So a typical Newry address ( 1/2 of Hill St, or the Quay’s Shopping Centre would be BT35 7HA.
NB: BT35 : The BT refers Not to Newry but the major city in that post district, Belfast. The reference to Newry is NUMERIC- 35.
NB; 2ND part of that address :7HA ( the actual street/ or business); Let’s pretend that’s for The Quays shopping centre- and note the way it’s partly numeric- and the letters don’t translate directly to the address, E.G. HA instead of TQ.
I didn’t give real examples here- but just try googling a few street names/ businesses in NI/ UK ( add ‘postcodes ‘ to the search string)- and just see how LITTLE the streets and towns and business resemble their codes; All NI / UK towns are represented by a Numeric code for God’s sake! POSTCODES are just codes- not a conspiracy by West Brits to finally stamp out the last noble touches of Irish….. Groan…Groan

Anonymous said...

“Conradh na Gaeilge Demands Irish Postcodes for and Irish Country”.

Well done, Conradh na Gaeilge!!! Ireland wants reunification, Britain wants that there be Irish reunification. And Conradh na Gaeilge drops a bloody clanger just like they did in 1949. What encouragement the Conradh na Gaeilge statement will have to the people of Northern Ireland. Sein Fein’s insistence that Irish be spoken in Storment has done more harm to Ireland and the reunification of Ireland than anything else, at least until now.

According to today’s papers, Fianna Fail Politicians want to kill each other, Archbishop Martin is issuing a telephone directory type of catechism, and Ireland will be in debt for the next 50 years and Conradh na Gaeilge are worried about petty nonsense.

The people of Ireland deserve all the trouble that comes because they voted for criminal politicians and idiotic institutions.

Anonymous said...

If it is true as ‘Conradh na Gaelige’ state that: Gaelic is the first and the official language of Ireland, then why not implement Gaelic as the only recognised language in Ireland, forthwith!! Fuck the cost and inconvenience to the people.

It should be a mere irrelevance that 85% of the people cannot speak or read Gaelic. As government documents are already available in Gaelic and road signs are in displayed in Gaelic, why not just dispense with the English language altogether as a unwanted and painful remnant of the past.

Doing this could be to the governments advantage because, then the TD’s could cheat, lie and steal even more efficiently than they do already, using Gaelic as a subterfuge. The Irish people would know nothing about it.

What is going on in Ireland will be wonderful material for comedians for decades to come. It seems that Eamon O Cuiv is one of those comedians. Although there is nothing much for the poor, sick, hungry, and unemployed and the to laugh at. I am so glad and so happy that I left Ireland five decades ago !!!


Anonymous said...

Sorry, Sorry, Sorry.
People in Ireland should not only speak in Gaelic, but the accents and idioms should also be in Gaelic. Imagine Gerry Adams having a conversation with John O'Donoghue the former idiotic Ceann Comhairle. ‘Be Jayus‘, The mind boggles in wonderment. They would have no idea what each other said. I love Ireland !! I do!, I do!, I do!!! There is no place like it on earth.

To be Fair and Just However.
It would be fairer if the postcodes on the right hand side of the street were in Gaelic, and the postcodes on the left hand side were in English. However, the post person may commence delivery form the other end of the street, and then there would be fun.

In the rural districts, all two story houses and farms could be in Gaelic, and single story houses, bungalows and country cottages could be in English. Anybody earning over €50,000 could have their own personalised postcode. I better stop this rubbish before some idiotic TD or civil servant takes it seriously.

Anonymous said...

Amazingly after reading the CnG press release they would be happy to have a post code system based on numbers only.
It is definitely more a case of not being like the British than promoting the Irish language IMHO.

Childish, very very childish.

SH @ 7639 county 12

Anonymous said...


Last year when in Rome I sent several post cards from The Vatican using only the postcodes e.g. 8-LS27-2LY -UK, House number/City/ District/ Street/Country, and that was all. All of the cards arrived safe and sound, and on time.

Lets us be fair, this postcode nonsense has frig all to do with Gaelic, it is a stalling tactic because the buggers cannot afford to implement to postcode service.

After all the financial shenanigans of Charlie Haughy and Bertie Ahern, and many others, (soon to be revealed) who took all the money for themselves and leaving the country, absolutely fucked.

Why not dig a big hole in the middle of Ireland and let sink down to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. Ref. Dave Allen.

garydubh said...

here's one we prepared earlier -

Loc8 Code is language neutral and already in use in the Republic and Northern Ireland. Your address stays as is in Irish or English as you wish - add a Loc8 Code and anyone can find it - on web, iphones, Garmin, TomTom, Navigon, Ovi - whatever you want...

Anonymous said...


There it is: I have read the link, and Garydubh has just summed up the solution to the problem in a nutshell. It is reasoned and logical and probably less expensive that messing about with complicated language variables. Anonymous also summed up the real problem with:'CONRADH NA GAEILGE DEMANDS WE DON'T HAVE ENGLISH POSTCODES'.

There is still a anti English prejudice; an inferiority; an jealousy and hostility from the past. Look at the pigheaded nonsense of the Northern Ireland MP's: Adams and McGuinness. who refused to sit in the House of Commons out of sheer belligerence, and insist on addressing the speaker as Ceann Comhairle, to the amusement and sniggers of the other parties including the SDLP and the rest of the UK and Ireland.

This narrowminded attitude just produces further provocation and antagonism when the better solution would be to invite, coax, cajole, and charm the Northern Irish people to want to join the rest of Ireland.

It is clear that the Loc8 Code system is the solution. I would love to hear the opinion of the antiquated Eamon O Cuiv, and that of the nonsensical and archaic Condradh na Gaeilge who are living in the past, and going nowhere fast.


Lew said...

Just tried it - it's brilliant
also played around with some other addresses

Why can't they just use that? even though its not in a format used in other countries, it should please everyone, it's neither irish or english

anna said...

I must investigate Local8: 1 thing that’s buried in endless news on the stupidity of our leaders is How much Real ingenuity and progress Irish people can generate - this sounds like one such scheme, AND it’s all Over Ireland.
There are 2 versions: Donegal and Connemara.
* I know a Connemara native Irish secondary teacher. She took her degree through English( I doubt if her subject is taught through Irish). Because of this she is a temp ; she applied for a permanent position in her subject, but was told she wasn’t qualified! Despite the fact she is In the position- and they couldn’t Find another person to teach it; maintaining the fiction that it IS possible to take this subject at university through Irish. That , though interesting isn’t my point. Point is ,at Angie’s school, a vacancy arose in another subject; the only teacher they could get , in that subject, was from Donegal- and pupils COULD NOT UNDERSTAND HER ( THO I’M SURE THEY WOULD HAVE UNDERSTOOD ALRIGHT IF SHE’D TAUGHT THEM IN English, however…)
*I also met a young Irish language teacher in her 30’s from Donegal. Maura went to Connemara- and found it very difficult to understand Irish speakers... She actually said, “I couldn’t believe they were also speaking Irish“.
* So There never WAS an Irish language that had ALL Ireland coverage - there was at least 2-( in fact unless its my fevered imagination I thought I was told when I was 12 that there were 4?? )
And don’t forget the other patchwork of regional languages :Scots Gaelic in the north, Norse in the Viking towns ( from Strangford- Waterford) , Yolla in Wexford ( language brought by followers of the Normans from Germanic/ Dutch part of Europe- it even seems , these middle Europeans Also inhabited Fingal, and spoke a language related to Yolla called Fingalian - which only totally vanished 100- 150 yrs ago, as did Yolla) ..and the Norman French language, & medieval then modern English.. Go into the Pro- Cathedral in Dublin , look at plaque naming 1000 yr s of Dublin Catholic bishops and see how many of these names look Norman.
Anyway you get my point- of all these languages the one spoken the Longest, by the Most people was English.
EVEN today there are TWO versions of Irish- leaving aside the fiction that Irish is the official language, WHY is 1 version of Irish promoted over the other- except to maintain the Pretence that Irish always was One Language, with Blanket coverage over this island!!! Be honest- there always were regional versions of Irish.
REALITY: IN THE FOG OF IRISH LANGUAGE MYTH. English is the only language understood by all Irish people from Malin head, to Connemara, to Valencia, to Fastnet, to Dunsink observatory in Dublin etc…

Anonymous said...

Anna's Analysis

Anna's analysis of the subject is cogent and unambiguous, and raises important issues that gives food for thought, particularly the many differing concepts on written and spoken Gaelic.

The problem of course, is not the language, that can sometimes so wonderful in terms of poetry and song. No!, the problem is Irish Fundamentalism, an irrational and illogical imposition of Gaelic by few backward bog-men and women, who are looking at life through Rose Coloured Spectacles of sentiment and nostalgia.

The Gaelic language and Condradh na Gaeilge is “up the creek” and is having it’s last stand, because nobody, other than the few fundamentalists are interested in this obsolete and ‘dead’ language that serves nobody.

The Gombeen Man said...

Yes David. Anna's point is a an excellent one. Why Gaelic? Lots of languages were spoken in Ireland, but the emerging Irish ruling class latched onto the Gaelic dialaects that were spoken to come up with a uniform "Irish" to act as an emblem for independence based around the tool of cultural nationalism. Ironcially, as the poster has pointed out earlier, this tactic made the dream of a united Ireland all the less likely. It actually cultivated difference.

By the way: the earliest recorded language in Ireland was, in fact, Old Britonnic.

On the subject of postcodes, their function is to simplify the delivery of mail. Nothing to do with etymology or any such thing. I think the system that Garydubh is promoting (and tested by Lew) is fine for satnav devices, but too cumbersome for postcodes IMO. Also, a postcode does not need to be as accurate (within a couple of metres) as a satnav co-ordinate. If it has to be numeric, to assuage the spite of the Galiban, surely four digits is enough?

Anonymous said...

What you write is absolutely correct. The most efficient post code would be “The Google Earth” Geographical Co-ordinates approach. For example: the co-ordinates of my favourite Dublin Pub; Davy Byrnes would be 19 Duke Street, Dublin. 53° 20’32.64N X 6° 15’45.61W.

This co-ordinate is a bit long winded perhaps , but it is absolutely unique and completely unambiguous. It could be done easily using updated information technology without any language variables whatever.


garydubh said...

Loc8 Code is Lat/long - just in a shorter and easier used format with inbuilt self checking

"53° 20’32.64N X 6° 15’45.61W"

is the same as Loc8 Code: "NP6-28-82D"

Loc8 Code converts one to the other. Only difference is that Loc8 uses Ordnance Survey Mapping which has equal high accuracy coverage over the whole Island whereas Google is just a blur in many places outside cities.

Lew said...

"surely four digits is enough?"
For once I actually disagree with you for the 1st time (sorry)

I used to live on the main Dublin/Sligo road a few miles outside of Edgeworthstown and in common with a LOT of places in Ireland there were no house numbers.
The local postie had to get to know everyone, and even visitors who stayed long enough to get post
Any visitors who didn't know where you lived had to ask in the nearest town where the townland was and if they happened to know which house it was, usually they'd end up asking at a few houses till they got the right one

On that premise I definately say 4 digits isn't enough, it may be in towns where there are definate house numbers, but a lot of Ireland has no house numbers and to work properly it has to identify a house not a region

The Gombeen Man said...

Sure Lew. I take your point. My sister lives in Leitrim and her address reads "xxx townland Leitrim". I have no idea how the posties manage to deliver mail to her.

I'm not opposed to the system espoused by garydubh, as such... just wonder if it is a bit cumbersome? I'm not sure if it exactly trips off the tongue, or the pen...

Anonymous said...


My mother was a rural relief post woman for a number of years in the bad old days and the system used back then was an A4 page for each lane with a line down the middle with the surnames followed by forenames of the houses on the left and right of the line corresponding to their side and order on the lane.

That system had a use to her in sorting the post before she set out to deliver it and I would assume that postcode systems would have a similar analogous relationship to the route of the postie and I would guess that that would make the Loc8 or coord related systems unsuitable.


Anonymous said...


My post code in the UK is LS25 1EQ. If I put the house number in front is is 8-LS25-1EQ and if I add the country it would read 8-LS25-1EQ-UK.

Therefore, Garydubh presents (in my view) the most progressive paradigm of a workable postcode system with his "NP6-28-82D" approach. There is little to choose from in comparison to the UK postcode system, that is, on the whole, very efficient.

But of course Condradh na Gaeilge would prefer to have the postcode written in Sanskrit than have it resemble anything English, How sad they are with such obsolete attitudes!!


Anonymous said...

Please note that the rural parts of France, UK, and the USA all have efficient postcodes, so it is nonsense to claim that a country the size of a "postage stamp" could not concoct some sort of postcode. When it comes to concocting things, Ireland is wonderful, as the recent financial debacle proves.

Anonymous said...


Why re-invent the wheel? Any reasonable person undertaking any project whether it be building a bunker of making an apple pie, would first gather relevant information pertaining to the subject.

Considering that postcodes have been used in UK for 45 or more years and in other European countries for just as long, why not compare the data pertaining to other postcode systems.

I still support and can see the relevance of Garydubh Loc8 Code where the information available is accurate in mathematical dimensions.

But as it has already been elucidated that postcodes are not the issue. The Gaelic language is the issue where “Condradh na Gaeilge” have lost power, influence and common sense. There is no way that Gaelic can be incorporated into the postcode system.


Anonymous said...

Just a little quandary. Why do the pro- Gaelic contingent not respond with their contribution as to why postcodes should be in Gaelic? I am eager to hear the logical argument and justification of Condradh na Gaeilge for wanting to waste millions of euros on a project that, in my view, will not benefit the Irish people.

garydubh said...

There is no legisaltion to allow a Postcode to be established yet and perhaps there now will not be for the foreseeable future. However, the GPS and Lat/Long origins of Loc8 Codes are gaining significant support:

National Postcode or not - Loc8 is already available and free to use - no need to wait another few years for a National System - feel free to use yours for free - thousands are doing so already and several couriers will make use of a Loc8 Code if it appears on goods for delivery.

Loc8 is deliberately language and placename independent and is designed to be added to an existing address if desired - it does not replace any part of an address either in the Republic or Northern Ireland..

Loc8 Codes are already being used in the Gaeltacht:

Anonymous said...


If I may, my experience of so-called Irish Ireland is good, but with a back-drop of bigotry. But hey, I'll get over it, it won't change and its part of the deal. My own space is found and they are not driving me out, they're going themselves.

My parents were Irish, brought up in Birmingham, many a paddy joke was told there. I'd come to visit Mayo as a child and loved the life and the open spaces. Moved back 15 years ago to look after my own. Applied for a teaching job, told by the Principal he would'nt have even been interviewed me, if he'd have known I had been born and brought up in England. Hope things will change, but pigs can fly.

Ken Westmoreland said...

Rather surprised that Irish people have started calling the Irish language 'Gaelic', which is quaint, and usually the preserve of dumb Americans and English fogeys.

Other bilingual countries have language-neutral postcode systems, and Gary Delaney's Loc8 system has the advantage of being just that.

An Post does have a thre-digit system for presorting mail, Dublin 1 is 101, etc, so that could form the basis of a new system - 101 0AA

During the time that Ireland has talked about introducing a postcode system, New Zealand has gone ahead and done that, while Malta introduced a new one.