Antique maps of Ireland are beautiful and might be just as helpful in assisting the modern Irish Post Office to deliver the mail as they might have been in the 1800s.
Why? Because Ireland today, even with its technology-driven economy, does not use any postal codes. Many parts of rural Ireland don’t use street addresses, and some don’t even use street names. The Wall Street Journal reports that more than a third of Ireland’s official 2.2 million residential addresses refer to more than one household, which makes delivering mail quite a challenge in a country full of Murphys, Kellys, and Callahans.
The modern world’s first postal codes seem to have been used in London in 1856, while the U.S. first started to use ZIP codes to help mail delivery in 1943. The U.S. Post Office was forced to use the codes during World War II when new mail carriers, unfamiliar with the neighborhoods, were replacing those carriers who had been sent off to the war. As sorting equipment has become more advanced, ZIP codes have gone from five digits to nine to some as long as 31 digits, which show up as bar codes at the bottom of the envelope.
Now it appears that the last holdout, An Post, Ireland’s postal service, will scrap the antique maps of Ireland, the cheat sheets that some carriers carry with handwritten names of residents on their route, and its private internal code system kept hidden from the public. Next spring, it will roll out its own postal code system. Now, when three Kevin Callahans live in the same County Tipperary town, the post office won’t have to deliver mail first to the one who has been there the longest.
Of course, there is still nothing quite like physically holding an antique map of Ireland to revel in its charm, color, and detail, all laboriously made by hand. http://www.EverIrishGifts.com has a large selection of stunning reproduction antique Irish maps, in the form of a paperweight, coaster, and good old map, all attractively presented in elegant handmade paper packaging. Browse the selection at http://everirishgifts.com/products/Irish_Maps.aspx.
Stay Ever Irish,