Perfect Timing for NCT, Car Insurance and Tax

Last year we went too early to get the NCT done. It wouldn’t have been due until the end of April but we thought we could schedule an appointment and get it over with. Later on we’ve found out that going too early will result in an early due date for the NCT. Instead of 14 months (February until April) we’ve only had 12 months until this year’s test. In short, we’ve actually lost two months. Be careful not to schedule your appointment too soon.

Having said that, we are pleased it had worked out this way. Why? Now we have the perfect timing for the test and the following payments:

1 NCT comes first. Which means, as soon as the car passes we will be able to drive it for another year. If not, we would have to get it fixed or get another car. However, the date for the NCT remains the same (comes first) for this car as long as we won’t take it there too soon.

2 With the car being accepted to drive on the road for another year we can then get insurance for it. If it wouldn’t have passed we would be paying for a policy we might no longer need. Yes, the payment could be used toward the next car but only limited and along with more effort.

3 Next up is the car tax which can be paid annually, quarterly or monthly. You can save quite a few euros if you’ll pay it in full, once a year. But if you do and the car is taken off the road or sold later on that year, you will have lost money. You won’t get reimbursed for what you have paid ahead of time.

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NCT 2019

Our car is older than ten years so its NCT (National Car Test) must be renewed each year. Renewal of test for cars that are 4 to 10 years old is every two years and a new car doesn’t need to be tested for the first 48 months.

To book an appointment, go to their website enter your car’s registration number and follow the instructions. You will also find more information about where the testing centres are, how to prepare so you will more likely pass the test, check when your next NCT is due, and more.

As of January 2019, the test costs €55 (€28 for a re-inspection if the car has to go through the testing drive again, no fee, if it doesn’t have to). Beware, that you’ll need to give them at least 5 working days notice if you cannot make your appointment; otherwise you will be charged €22 for the first and €11.50 for a scheduled appointment for a re-inspection (credit card details are taken online while booking the test/s).

You will receive a booking appointment confirmation by email and/or text message (SMS). The confirmation will come along with helpful hints how to prepare for your NCT.

On the day of the test, bring along the Vehicle Registration Book, Registration Certificate or Licensing Certificate and your driver’s licence as identification. Also note that, on that day, the fee will be charged on your credit card.

Would you like to read more about this? Check out these links:

A post I have written in April of 2017: NCT in Ireland

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Issues With Broadband In Ireland

In 2012, the Minister for Communications revealed the plan for broadband in Ireland. You can read an article about this in The Irish Times. Now, seven years later and in a more rural area, we are happy to be online at an average download speed of 23-25 MB.

Yesterday, though, we were having a(nother) troubled day in regard to the internet. The signal was cut quite a few times throughout the day. As of now we are not sure what had caused this, but we are happy to be back online and on a stable connection again – especially because Stefan needs internet for his work from home.

There are a couple of internet providers, here in Ireland. Honestly, most, if not all, of them will provide pretty much the same broadband service. Well, yes, the customer service might be different with some of them.

We are quick in judging and complaining when things go wrong, aren’t we? How about when things are working properly?

I’ve heard myself say before: “Things like these wouldn’t happen over there. In Germany, they are up to date concerning communication services.”

Oh, really? Are they?

Almost a year ago, I’ve spent a week in Germany. During that week I have bumped into mobile phones having signal troubles (including my own, yes, but not exclusively), internet connection being quite slow or even gone at times and even problems with the landline phones that were connected in my brother’s home. So, are the communication services more up to date in Germany than in Ireland?

Hm… I don’t think so!

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It Is More Fun

Remember my last post in December? It’s the one in which I mentioned my friend Andrea and her birthday on the 22nd. Guess what? On the following Saturday I picked her up at Dublin airport. She stayed with us for a week.

It has been such a treat, having her over again. This time she didn’t visit to explore the Emerald Isle but to spend a week with us and to get an extra portion of rest and relax. She was able to wind down, yes, but she also assisted me in many ways: We baked and cooked and did the washing up together — which was so much more fun than doing it all alone 😉

I especially enjoyed walking on the beach with her, exchanging thoughts, praying and having meals together and talking about the Christian faith.

The Sunday before New Year’s Eve we went to church together and I was amazed how much English Andrea understands and speaks. I’m proud of her. Unlike us, she doesn’t get that many opportunities to hear and talk English. We are using the language every single day — while on the phone, in the stores, or just chatting with friends.

Andrea’s holiday in Ireland went by so fast again… In a way it’s hard for me to believe that she had been here for a visit and that she has gone back to Germany already. I sure miss her! Hopefully there will be many, many more holidays to come!

Thank you for sticking around and reading my Carmen In Ireland blog. Wishing you all a happy and blessed 2019.

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Before addressing this post to all of you, I want to say…

… to a special person in my life who is not only a(nother) faithful reader of my blogs but also a very close friend. 🎉🎂🎈 Happy Birthday, Andrea! 🎈🎂🎉 Can’t wait to see you soon.

For most of us, December is a busy time: cleaning, decorating, shopping for food and presents and perhaps travelling to meet with friends and family. No matter how great the hustle and bustle, I want to wish you all a peaceful and joyful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I’m taking a two-weeks break from writing my blogs. Carmen in Ireland will be back on the 10th January of 2019.

Blessings from Ireland
Carmen and family

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Full Irish Breakfast

Do you know what you will get if you had just ordered a Full Irish Breakfast? No? You think so? Yes? Depending on the location and/or the tradition/s of the individual (restaurant owner’s) family, the ingredients can vary quite a bit. Some food is more, some is less accepted by its receiver. If you are to discuss this issue you will run into all sorts of people who have all sorts of different opinions about it. Just do a search online and you will see 😉

So I’m going to give you a list of a couple of things — and add a comment here and there to explain…

  • Baked Beans Some say they are a part of the breakfast while others don’t like them on their plate in the early hours but would eat them for a Fry (Keep on reading, I’ll explain). Than there are those who would argue that beans belong to a Full English Breakfast only.  
  • Black Pudding and/or White Pudding, fried in a pan. Most Irish would agree that “pudding” is an essential for breakfast.
  • Mushrooms some say that there is absolutely no need for mushrooms to be on the plate.
  • Potatoes Now this turned out to be a real challenge for me. Some ask for Hash Browns while others say: “Absolutely not!” and demand that only the original Irish Potato Bread/Farls are supposed to go onto the plate. Then there are those who would rather want a Boxty (Irish Potato Pancake) for breakfast. Imagine, even chips (french fries) must have made their way on the plate before — at least in one or the other restaurant up North.
  • Rashers fried, or better yet, barbecued.
  • Sausages All I have asked agreed: without the sausages it wouldn’t be a true Irish Breakfast.
  • Toast/Bread  While some are okay with the slice of toast, others won’t go for anything less than the Irish Soda Bread.
  • Tomatoes What’s their function? Are they there to eat, for decoration purposes only, or something to leave on the plate? Not sure about that…

Leaves us with the question: What’s a Fry? If the Full Irish Breakfast isn’t served in the morning but, let’s say, between 5pm and 6pm, it would be called a Fry instead.

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What Would You Miss the Most

If you are already living in Ireland, my question to you is: What do you miss most? What are some of the things you’d wish you could enjoy in Ireland, too?

I miss the Feldwege (farm lanes) a lot. We used to walk for hours on these in Germany. They are great for walking the dog/s. Some of them are in the middle of farmer fields or woods, others are next to a road leading from one small town to the other. I also miss listening to church bells ringing, especially around Christmas time… Then I miss a few areas we have visited while still living in Germany — areas like the Black Forrest or Reutte and others.

Yes, there are also some foods we are missing now and then. Sometimes we’ll get a parcel from our family in Germany, at other times we’ll order some from one or the other online store.

Next month, my school friend is coming over and she has already asked for a list of things we would like to have. She mentioned that she has booked a 20kg suitcase to bring along. Whoaw! Let’s start thinking of all the things she could bring along… 😛

If you are not yet living in Ireland but planning on moving here, perhaps you should start making a list of things you want to bring along?

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