Ireland day 0204. Wednesday 20 April 2022- Rubicon
Apparently when Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon river in BC 49, it set him on an irreversible course toward civil war which ultimately led to him becoming dictator of Rome. Today we took a step which hopefully won’t lead to such dramatic consequences, but which felt like the most irreversible move we made since coming to Ireland.
After quite a lot of internal debate and some anguish, we finally gave up our UK driving licences – which in my case I have held for 46 years – and started the process to get new Irish ones. This is a consequence of the UK leaving the EU – after you’ve been here a short while, UK licences are no longer valid and so it is a legal requirement to swap them for Irish ones. The process is time consuming and bureaucratic – but I have already whined on about this so I won’t repeat the details again today.
Anyway, today we reached what I hope will be the final stage. Armed with our eye test reports and a million other bits of paper (thank goodness for our printer, again), we dutifully headed down to the National Driver Licence Service office in Clare Hall for our interviews with the NDLS officer. We obviously said the right things, and our papers seemed to be in order, because we were duly photographed and relieved of our UK licences (and €55) and were given a bit of paper which proved (temporarily) that we were still allowed to drive. With any luck, new Irish licences will arrive with us in the next two weeks (“though it could take up to twelve”) and in the meantime we can’t drive anywhere outside the Republic – not even to the North. So now it’s just a question of waiting and hoping for the best. And checking the postbox every day.
We didn’t think that was enough trauma for one day, so we arranged to see our accountant in Dublin in the afternoon. As we are tax resident in Ireland now, we have to pay Irish tax. More particularly, since Irish tax rates are generally a bit higher than UK ones, we will have to find some extra money. The purpose of today was to try and find out how much extra, and what the process for sorting it all out would be. It’s especially complicated for the next year of two which are transition years when we spent some time in the UK and some in Ireland. The fact that the tax years don’t coincide just adds an extra layer of complexity. Anyway, every journey starts with the first step and at least we have taken that now. But I suspect this saga is likely to run on for a good few months more yet.
But our visit to Dublin did have its enjoyable moments too – a brief step into Trinity College for lunch (always an oasis of calm) and then into Arnott’s department store at the end of the day. Even though shopping isn’t my thing, and I think that “retail therapy” must be an oxymoron, I did have to admit that it was a pleasant spot. And it does have a nice café where we had an excellent cup of coffee before heading out to the station for the trip back to Malahide.
Now it’s time to reflect on a hard but well spent day and on where the next steps in our journey might take us.
Today’s photos (click to enlarge)
(No map today)