Postal Addresses in Ireland

Irish mailing addresses are composed of the following elements:
  • Company or individual's name
  • House name (where applicable)
  • Street Address (including house number where applicable)
  • Town (prefix the town with "IE" if item is mailed within Europe)
  • County (not required for cities or county towns)
  • IRELAND (not required where town name is prefixed with "IE" and item is mailed within Europe)


Example (using Courier 12pt font)

The Avalon Hotel

Note:   To maximise machine readability (and therefore speed of delivery) of your envelope:

  • Do not use punctuation marks in the address.
  • Used a monospaced font (eg Courier, Courier New).   Monospaced fonts have a higher machine read accuracy than proportional fonts (eg Arial, Times New Roman, etc)
  • Use uppercase characters for the street address and the lines below same.

Postcodes/Zip codes

In general, Postcodes are not required. The exception is Dublin and Cork city where a 1 or 2 digit zone number appears after the name of the city (eg Dublin 2). This number is shown after the street name (eg 25 Clare Street 2 = 25 Clare Street, Dublin 2).

How is mail sorted without a postcode?

Modern sorting machinery can read and process an entire 4 or 5 line address as rapidly as older systems could read a postcode. When an item first enters the sorting process the full address is scanned and a barcode is applied to the reverse side of the envelope. This barcode is a serial number for that item, and has no relationship to any postcode or address data. If the address is machine recognizable and matches with the national address database, the information is stored in a database of items in transit against its barcode serial number. If the address can't be machine read or matched to the address database, an image of the envelope is stored on disk. These images are subsequently displayed on VDUs for human beings to read and allocate address codes. These address codes are also stored under the barcode serial number for the item in question. At each stage of the sorting process, the barcode is read, the address information is looked up on the database for that item, and the package is routed to the appropriate sorting station for that stage of the sorting process.

This system is more user friendly (people don't have to remember and use long postcodes) and less prone to error (the entire address is machine read and verified - rather than relying on a single postcode which can easily be transposed causing an item to go to an incorrect delivery center, etc). It also provides a complete audit trail for the item from the time it enters the sorting system until it is passed to the postman or foreign postal administration.

Online Directories

The following links may be useful if you are looking for an address:

Address finder - enter an address and see it on a map
White and Yellow Pages phone books
Kompass Ireland

Other links

An Post - Irish Postal Service WWW site
An Post Geodirectory / Standard Address Format for database management

Buy Irish stamps online

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