Ireland day 0006. Monday 04 October 2021- Phones
Going to live in a foreign country isn’t the same as going there on holiday, as Val and I started to find out today. We had allowed ourselves a few days to do touristy things as we recovered from the efforts of actually getting here, but today it felt like time to start making arrangements to stay here longer term.
As UK Citizens, the Common Travel Area means we can live and work in Ireland for as long as we like – Brexit notwithstanding. But even though Ireland is pretty much as un-foreign as you can get, there are still myriad complexities to navigate in order to get established here. PPS Numbers (aka NI numbers in the UK), driving licences (UK licenses are only valid for a short period in Ireland), private health insurance (there is no NHS here) and Irish mobile phone numbers to name just four.
So we decided to tackle the easiest of these – phones- today. Even that wasn’t particularly straightforward as we had already had to have Irish bank accounts as well proof of ID and dual-SIM phones in order to get them. Fortunately, we had sorted these prerequisites out before we departed the UK and so, having successfully cleared the various checks and balances and technological hurdles, after a hour in the Eir shop in Drogheda, we emerged with brand-new Irish phone numbers. It has to be said, though, that three quarters of the time in the shop was spent discussing various aspects of Irish culture with the chatty and knowledgeable history graduate who was running the store, but I think that’s a typical and actually very enjoyable aspect of life in Ireland. By the way, in case you’re planning a visit at the moment, Downings – a small coastal village on the west coast of Donegal – was his top recommendation.
At the end of the day, we gave ourselves a bit of down-time and and went to the beach on the south side of the river Boyne estuary and enjoyed a very peaceful if belated picnic lunch among the sand-dunes. We dashed back to Ardcath after late lunch – not, you will be relieved to know, to get to the pub for opening time, but because I needed to do some log chopping before it got dark, and Val needed to be back in time to start her first Gaelic Irish language Zoom lesson. Tomorrow we start a more determined search for somewhere to stay once we leave our AirBnB, having put PPS numbers and their like in the “too difficult” box for now.
So that’s today’s blog concluded. Just a bit of a shame that I can’t tell anyone about it because Mark Zuckerberg seems to have forgotten to put the coin in the meter so WhatsApp has gone off air. Good job it doesn’t do anything important like being the main medium for communication for about half the world’s population etc. etc.
Today’s photos (click to enlarge)