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A letter send by Gearóid Kelly of Feakle in a bit to challenge the local knowledge of Clare's postal staff.

Quirky challenge tests local knowledge of Clare’s postal staff

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TWO Clare men have been keeping postal staff on their toes with a series of riddles designed to test their local knowledge.

Gearóid Kelly from Feakle and Tony McTeigue from Kilnamona have exchanged Christmas cards over the last five years. Rather than simply writing a name and address on the envelope, the pair have taken to coming up with cryptic instructions that have, almost always, led to the successful delivery of their post. While Gearóid works in Dublin and Tony in Australia, the two have sent cards and letters to each other’s home address, in the hope that local ties will help postal staff to decipher their destinations.

“We’ve known each other since going to college in NUI Galway,” Gearóid told The Champion. The Business Information Systems graduate, an accordion player, met fellow Clare native, Tony, who plays banjo, at the college’s Trad Soc. “We were always up for a laugh and a few practical jokes alright,” he said.

Now working in the IT section of the ESB, Gearóid said that the tradition of sending Christmas cards with riddles in place of an address quickly became an annual challenge.

This year, Tony succeeded in getting a letter to Gearóid’s home address with the following instructions: “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”.

To-date, it’s a perfect score for the postal services in Clare, however, Gearóid has recently sent a letter to Tony’s address in Kilnamona, which hasn’t yet arrived. “It’s in Irish and it relates to the fact that Tony’s father is a sculptor,” he said. “There’s possibly someone walking around right now trying to figure out who the letter is intended for.”

The annual challenge has generated huge interest on social media and among the lads’ circle of friends, many of whom are urban dwellers. “Quite a lot of people are really interested, because they couldn’t believe that so many people have address that don’t have a street number,” he said. “They kept asking things like, ‘How does the postman know?’. A lot of people in Dublin have been baffled and it’s a bit of light relief. It’s cheered people up and we really need a bit of that right now.”

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at or telephone 065 6864146.

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