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Crossing the Irish border

The partition of Ireland between the six north-eastern counties of Ireland and the rest of Ireland took place on 3 May 1921

The 1920 Act created two jurisdictions on the island of Ireland: Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland both of which were parts of the United Kingdom.

On 6 December 1922, in accordance with the Anglo-Irish Treaty, the entire island of Ireland became the Irish Free State, a dominion in the British Commonwealth The Houses of Parliament of Northern Ireland, however, exercised their right to opt out of the new dominion the following day. Today Northern Ireland is still part of the United Kingdom while the rest of the island is a sovereign state named Ireland.

The Irish Free State was succeeded by a new state, Ireland (Irish: Éire) in 1937 which, eleven years later, formally declared that it was a republic under the Republic of Ireland Act 1948.

Customs and identity checks

Customs controls were introduced on the frontier shortly after the establishment of the Irish Free State. These controls were maintained, with varying degrees of severity, until 31 December 1992 when the European Single Market came into effect. There are no longer any operational customs posts along either side of the border.

I came across an old Road Book of Ireland published by the Automobile Association in 1956 detailing the restrictions when motorists crossed the Irish border          It seems very complicated as you can make your way between the two countries now freely.

The only clue might be the road signs of which there is a slight difference in appearance. One notable difference is that in Northern Ireland, the speed limits are marked in miles per hour and in the Irish Republic, it is in kilometres per hour

An Ghaeltacht  - In some areas where the Irish language is spoken as a community language, the signs are in Irish

These are located as shown in this map http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gaeltacht.svg

Politically, Ireland is still divided into two parts but then after partition there was a land frontier between the two.
The larger portion, comprising twenty-six counties, made up the Republic of Ireland and had its own Customs Service. The remainder of the country was under the control of the Northern Ireland Government and formed part of the British Customs Union. It covered the north-eastern portion and consisted of the counties of Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone. The border began at Carlingford Lough in the east and, skirting Castleblavney, Monaghan, Aughnacloy and Clones, following an irregular, but in general north-westerly, course inland almost as far as Donegal Bay. Just short of the west coast, however, it turns sharply north at Belleek and, passing between Lifford and Strabane and then to the west of Londonderry, until it reached the coast at Lough Foyle near Muff in Co. Donegal. As a result of this division, there are certain differences between the motor laws and the Customs tariffs in force on the two sides of the border. How these affect motorists traveling between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is fully explained under the four headings below.

It cannot be too strongly stressed that the border or land frontier between the Republic and Northern Ireland can be crossed only by the `approved' roads as shown on the map and listed in the schedule. No entry or exit may be made by any other road. It will also be seen from the schedule that two of these roads can be used only for intermediate crossings and not for first entry or final exit. An explanatory leaflet accompanies every Triptyque, and a Member who reads the leaflet carefully should not experience any difficulty when crossing the border. At the important crossings A.A. Frontier Officers are on duty to assist Members.


Practically all cars entering Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland are now liable to duty (33.33%), and Purchase Tax. The Association overcomes this difficulty by issuing the Member with a British Triptyque, thus avoiding the necessity of depositing large sums of money at the border. When the vehicle arrives at the frontier, the Triptyque is merely stamped by a Customs officer, and the motorist is free to circulate in Northern Ireland. The Triptyque not only satisfies the requirements of the Northern Ireland Customs ; it also has attached to it a Temporary
Exportation Certificate which facilitates the return of the vehicle to the Republic. Members who require British Triptyques should apply to the Association's offices in Dublin or Cork.
Motor vehicle licences, but not driving licences, issued in the Republic are valid for a temporary stay in Northern Ireland. Licences to drive in Northern Ireland may be obtained by A.A. Members from the Association's offices in Dublin or Cork. A certificate of insurance in accordance with the Northern Ireland Road Traffic Act is also required by motorists driving in Northern Ireland.


Customs duty is chargeable on vehicles entering the Republic from Northern Ireland, and, in order that Members may avoid having to lodge large sums of money at the frontier, they are advised to obtain a Triptyque from the A.A. office in Belfast. This is valid for twelve months and is issued with the minimum of formality.
Northern Ireland motor vehicle licences and driving licences are valid for a temporary stay in the Republic. A certificate of insurance or an international insurance `green card' valid in the Republic is required.


Customs formalities are similar to those for the Northern Ireland motorist as set out in paragraph 2 above. Application for a Triptyquee should be made by the Member to his local A.A. office.
British vehicle and driving licences, other than provisional or visitors' licences, are valid in the Republic for a temporary stay. A `GB' plate and an insurance certificate or an international insurance `green card' valid in the Republic are required.


Customs officers are on duty at the ports to attend to all formalities at any time when vehicles are being loaded or unloaded, but crossings at the land frontier (the border) must be made only during the specified hours noted below, unless the extra attendance of Customs officers has previously been arranged. The fees payable for this extra service vary from 2s. to 29s. according to the type of entry or exit. At least 48 hours' notice must be given to the
Customs. Details of these arrangements can be obtained from any A.A. office.

THE FIRST ENTRY INTO THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND must be made between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays, except on the following holidays: Saint Patrick's Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Whit Monday, August Bank Holiday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

THE FIRST ENTRY INTO NORTHERN IRELAND must be made between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays, except on the following holidays Easter Monday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

INTERMEDIATE CROSSINGS of the land frontier (the border) can be made any day, holidays included, during the following hours
at Pettigo and Blacklion    8 a.m.-9 p.m. at Carrickcarnan and Bridgend 8 a.m.-2 a.m.
at all other frontier posts    8 a.m.-midnight. The Republic of Ireland Customs levy a fee of 2s. after 9 p.m.

FINAL EXPORTATION FROM NORTHERN IRELAND can be made from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays except on Easter Monday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

FINAL EXPORTATION FROM TILE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND can be made any day, holidays included, during the hours noted above for intermediate crossings. When a Triptyque is finally discharged on a Sunday or after 5 p.m. on a weekday, the Republic of Ireland Customs charge a fee of 2s. APPROVED ROADS

A list of approved roads by which the motorist may cross the land frontier (the border), together with the Customs Stations and Frontier Posts at which he must call in accordance with the instructions given above, will be found on page 29. . Direct roads from Dundalk to Castleblayney and between Cavan and Clones cross and recross the border for a short distance. The motorist making a direct journey by either of these roads may do so without restriction providing he does not deviate from that part of the road which is in Northern Ireland territory.

Nowadays there is no restriction on travel between the north and south of Ireland as it is part of the Common Travel Area that is a passport-free zone that comprises the islands of Ireland, Great Britain, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The area's internal borders are subject to minimal or non-existent border controls and can normally be crossed by Irish and British citizens with only minimal identity documents.

More on the UK / Irish border at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_of_Ireland_%E2%80%93_United_Kingdom_border