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Gearoid Kelly's cryptically addressed letters have been testing An Post for years now.

Clareman’s cryptic clues bringing the best out of An Post


A CLAREMAN who has been testing the resourcefulness of the Irish Postal Service with vague addresses for the past five years has reported another successful delivery.

Gearoid Kelly and his friend, Tony McTigue, eschewing things like eircodes and actual addresses, have set an annual challenge for An Post with their correspondence.

The pair have been sending postcards and letters with the likes of the following written on them:
“That lad who studied commerce in NUIG who used to be in TradSoc, played in the Crane on Tuesdays, lives in Dublin now for the past few years, see him on Facebook a lot with dinosaur costume,
Tulla…. or perhaps Feakle?
Anyhow, just get this to East Clare and they will know who I am on about,
Ireland”

Even that level of obfuscation failed to stop An Post successfully delivering the letter.

This year’s effort, however, needed a second sending, before it found its target, having first been sent in November 2020 with the following written on it:
“A mhac an fir An Shnoich Dealbh Michael Cusack atá in Inis. Tá an mac engineer san Astráil ach ta an áit bhaile i Contae on Chláir.”

Gearoid told The Champion the pair have been setting the challenge annually for the last five years or so and last year’s was the first to fail to hit the mark. Undeterred he sent it again with a prompt to ‘Google Clare Champion Christmas Card’. And lo, it was delivered.

“You can see there on the card, someone has handwritten, ‘try McTigues in Kilnamona’,” says Gearoid, who adds they were inspired by some of the obscurely-addressed missives they had seen popping up on social media over the years.

“Each year we have done it, we’ve tried to put less and less information on it to see how successful it can actually be, because some of the ones you see on Facebook, they still have a name, or an address or part of an address and it is quite detailed. We’ve gone in the more cryptic direction, like, how little information can we put on it and still have it delivered to us.”

The success rate is testament to the gameness of the national postal service if nothing else, and their efforts to date have impressed the Feakle native.

“They absolutely try, as we’ve nearly had a full success rate. I was on holidays this year and I sent one from north Spain, just to try adding in a few other countries to see how far we would get and that one also arrived.”

This one from north Spain made its way to the intended recipient

Gearoid, who has been working in IT in Dublin for the last six years, noted also that his challenging correspondence has to work its way through the national network and not just the Clare one to find its way to its target.

“I’ve tried contacting An Post, because they do deserve a pint, or they deserve a coffee or something. I’d love to find the actual person that has delivered it,” he says.

The patience of many a postal service would be tested by these communications, but he thinks An Post workers enjoy the challenge.

“I’d imagine so, I’d say it does give some of them a laugh. Maybe others might not get much of a laugh out of it, they’d be thinking ‘Oh God, what are these people doing to us’?

“To be honest, I’m nearly running out of options about what to put on it – no name or anything.

“The only reference to a name on this one was that his father does sculptures – I think he did the Michael Cusack one in Ennis. That’s the only way they could figure it out.”

While he ranks this latest delivery as the most impressive to date, there is one letter outstanding that was posted from Australia and has yet to find its way to its intended target..

This card from Australia is still out there

“Yeah, I’m still waiting on that one,” he says.

Over to you, An Post…

About Kevin Corbett

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