Categories
Cork

Great Parking

I was back and forth to the car a few times while we were in town. Each time there was someone trying to reverse into that space before realising they wouldn’t make it.

Until an old Nissan Micra pulled up and reversed in like a champ. I hope they had room to get their car door open.

Categories
Ireland

Murphy’s, first of the year.

Outside dining FTW.

Categories
Ireland

Excited to see the solar eclipse

You can only see a partial solar eclipse from here but I was excited to see it.

Looks amazing.

Categories
Ireland

New EU VAT Rules in July

If you live in the EU and bought cheap goods from China or anywhere outside the EU you may have been surprised when you didn’t have to pay customs duties or VAT on the product.

To be honest, the extra payment required by An Post/a third party carrier to pay for more expensive goods is probably what surprised most people buying from outside the European Union. That can be €10 to €15 or more.

Well, from July 1st you may have to pay that fee regardless of how much the goods you bought are. If you’re looking for a cheap phone case, or book or whatever from the UK you better do it ASAP because if it’s delivered here (Ireland or elsewhere in the EU) after July 1st you’ll end up paying extra.

The Irish Revenue website has a page explaining how it works and it’s not pretty.

From 1 July 2021, import VAT will be payable on all goods entering the EU, irrespective of their value. VAT will always be collected, irrespective of the amount due. If you order goods valued at €22 or less before 1 July 2021, that arrive after that date, you may have to pay VAT.

A pair of socks costing €17 may end up costing you €30. Must be a hell of a pair of socks!

Here’s an RTÉ article on the change.

The revenue.ie page does not mention that non-EU sellers can charge VAT at point-of-sale. A paragraph on this page explains how this works:

The EU has therefore agreed to scrap the import VAT exempt threshold. Instead, it will require EU and non-EU sellers to charge VAT at the point of sale for consignments of €150 or below. This will create a more efficient ‘Green Channel’, with quick and easy customs clearance. Note – the delivery agent may still act as the import VAT collector (see below).

Sellers will charge VAT at the rate of their customer’s EU country of residence at the point-of-sale on the website. Sellers can use the delivery address of the customer to determine the country VAT rate. No VAT is due at the point of import in this case.

This already happens for digital sales, such as those for games and software.

I suspect this change to the VAT rate will also apply to UK magazine subscriptions since periodicals are charged(PDF) 9% VAT in Ireland while they are 0% in the UK. If that’s the case it’s not worth it (An Post will charge €10 to deliver a magazine worth let’s say €6.) unless the seller is registered in the EU and charges VAT on the subscription.

Categories
Books

RIP RBDigital. Boo to the Libby App

Libraries Ireland recently switched from the RBDigital app that my wife loved to an app called Libby. She reads magazines on a very old iPad so she made the reluctant switch to Libby.

It was a nightmare. By accident she selected the county library rather than the city library and we couldn’t see where to change library. I reinstalled it as that seemed to be the easiest way of fixing that issue.

Once into the app she entered her details and attempted to read a magazine. Unfortunately it was so slow it was frustrating. I realise this iPad is old, but the RBDigital app was quick and responsive on the device. The Libby app is not. Pages load slowly, the whole device lags when Libby is running. Downloading magazines is very slow.

We had the same experience on a Kindle Fire Android tablet, but it was marginally faster. From snail’s pace to sloth’s pace. What the hell is the app written in? Some high level framework that needs the latest hardware to run it?

Then I saw you can use their website, libbyapp.com instead. Firefox on the Android tablet, and Chrome on the iPad were a lot more responsive. While it was still slow to load magazines it was usable. Libby even makes it easy to add a new device.

Their website works just fine in Chrome on my ageing iPad, and the immersive view of Firefox on the Android tablet looks even better so I must see about putting Firefox on the iPad too.

Categories
C64

Yes, it is at home

My Commodore 64 is in my home office. How did they know?

Categories
Ireland

I would have liked to meet Ted Baldwin

The gravestone of Edward (Ted) Baldwin in Durrus, Co Cork.
“I told you I was sick”

This is a gravestone in the graveyard of St. James’s Church in Durrus, Sheep’s Head as pictured in 2014. Ted died well before his time at a young age and I have no idea who he was but to judge by his final message he must have been an interesting character.

I came across this after posting today’s photo of this church in Durrus on my photoblog.

Categories
Ireland

Customs declaration

I’ll say it now before I get used to it.

Seeing a customs declaration on a package from the UK is really weird, and disappointing. #brexit

Categories
Ireland

50% of our energy came from renewables

50.42% of Ireland’s electricity came from renewables in the last 24 hours

In the last 24 hours just over 50% of the electricity generated in Ireland came from renewables. We even exported 4% of our electricity.

Of course the wind isn’t blowing this hard every day, or it’s blowing too hard, and over the course of the last month the portion of renewable energy drops to 39%.

All this information is available on the Eirgrid Smart Grid Dashboard. Lots of information there including a log of wind speeds you can download, interconnection graphs showing our imports and exports of electricity from the UK and CO2 intensity & emissions data too. You can compare CO2 intensity against other parameters such as wind generation. The last few days have been very windy.

For more energy statistics take a look at the transport page on the SEAI website.

The amount of petrol consumed in Ireland reduced by more than half between 2007 and 2018 as a result of the shift to diesel cars. The increase in diesel use for private cars was offset by lower diesel use in freight. Diesel use was 12% higher in 2018 than 2007.

Renewable transport fuels have grown from a low base to over 3% of transport final energy use in 2018. This is almost all from biofuels blended with petrol and diesel. Electricity remained at just 0.1% of transport final energy demand in 2018. Most of this was from Luas and DART, but electric vehicles are growing strongly from a low base.

Categories
Ireland

How many cars are on the road?

If you go along to the Transport Infrastructure Ireland website right now you’ll find a map of Ireland with lots of green dots.

These are the locations of cameras recording the volume of traffic on the road. It’s been interesting looking at some of the roads around Cork during the last year. Here are a few charts of traffic on the N20 between Blarney and Cork.

In January traffic maxed out at 1200 vehicles a day in the early morning with a similar bump in the evening.
February was similar, with slightly less vehicles per day.

The Covid-19 Lockdown bit in March. Schools closed on March 12th, pubs closed soon after. Most people who could were working from home. It made a big difference to daily traffic into Cork. From a high of 1200 vehicles in January to 400 in April.

In March only 800 vehicles a day made the journey into Cork. The 2km rule was introduced.
April was worse. The number of vehicles halved. Only 400 vehicles made the journey.
There was a very slight increase in traffic in May to 500 vehicles a day.
June saw a return to March numbers. 800 vehicles a day.
July was similar. Slightly more than 800 vehicles a day.
August isn’t over yet but numbers are slightly down again to less than 800 vehicles a day. Schools return at the end of the month so that will probably make a small bump.

How does this compare to last year? Here are the charts for July and August 2019.

July 2019 when almost 2000 vehicles travelled the road between Blarney and Cork.
August 2019 when Irish people went abroad and the country was noticeably quieter. 1100 vehicles a day.

It’s interesting to see those charts. The lockdown caused a huge drop in traffic as expected. Emissions from cars were down this year of course but agriculture remained the same so our impact on the environment didn’t change much. It’ll probably be worse as people use their cars rather than take public transport.

Out of curiosity I looked at the traffic volume going into Dingle from the Inch Strand side of the peninsula for July this year and last year. There wasn’t much of a change. 500 cars a day passed there in 2020 while only an extra 100 cars made the journey in 2019. They’ll be happy about that in Dingle!