Friday 27 September 2013

Post haste costs more

In Derry City’s main Post Office yesterday, I presented a small parcel for postage. The clerk behind the bandit screen asked where it was going.
‘County Westmeath,’ I replied. 
She consulted her screen and commented, ‘Air mail.’ 
Thinking I had misheard, I repeated, ‘Air mail?’ – adding that question mark of astonishment.
The clerk then explained that this postage to Westmeath was 'across the border' and so classified as an ‘international delivery’. As such, it incurred the same charge as a delivery 'anywhere else within the European Union'.
In other words, mailing a small parcel to Bridgend in County Donegal, just one mile out the road from Derry, incurs the same cost as mailing it to Bucharest. Meanwhile, the same parcel could be delivered as ‘domestic’ mail to Brighton or Lerwick at a fraction of the cost.
Somewhat stunned, I forked out the £7.85 demanded and my parcel was dispatched for its ‘flight’. I immediately regretted that decision. In future I’ll deliver myself – almost free of charge – to a post office in Lifford to conduct similar business.
You’ve got to be on top of your game when you’re living on the Border. 


  1. Dear Darach, thank you for your informative blog. I am writing about the border and am wondering about something that you might be able to help me with.

    Presumably up to some point in history the Foyle river on the approach to Lough Foyle was was Donegal's boundary. But, at some later point, Derry claimed a hinterland, a nibble out of Donegal. Then partition followed this hinterland boundary and this is where the border still runs. When and for what original reason was that line drawn? I am assuming it is older than partition but I may be wrong. It is generaly said that partition followed the county boundaries. Does that mean, at some point, Co. Londonderry pushed west of the Foyle?

    I would appreciate any help or suggestion you can make.

    Thanks again,

  2. The same thing applies in reverse. The postal authorities in the Free State charge "Ireland (including Northern Ireland)" at one rate, and pretend that it costs much more to post to Great Britain. I know it costs far more to send parcels to GB with An Post than it does from GB with Royal Mail. One British Isles rate would solve all this. I shall not hold my breath waiting....

  3. Can I just point out that Derry City is afootball team?

    The place is called Londonderry / Derry.

    It was never ever Derry City!!!