An Post to increase price of stamps this month

From May 27th:

The price of the standard national letter stamp will increase up to the EU average price of €1.10c (currently €1.00). 

The standard international letter stamp will increase to €2.00 (currently €1.70).

Bulk mail rates will increase by 5c and meter rates by 10c. Large mailers will continue to receive discounts for high volume postings.

Discounts of 34 per cent on parcel postage and 5 per cent for letter post for SMEs through the An Post Advantage Card will be extended to year-end in order to help small businesses back to recovery and growth.

There will be no increase in charges for sending Registered Mail, large envelopes and packets within Ireland.

An Post said their community focus supports such as calling in on vulnerable citizens, free postage to and from care homes, and free newspaper delivery for older customers will also be extended until at least the end of the year.

So if you have items to post that can go before the 27th of this month, send them earlier to make some cost savings.

Every little bit helps.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Carbon Tax on non-auto fuels kicks in May 1st

carbon tax is a tax levied on the carbon content of goods and services, predominantly in the transport and energy sectors. Carbon taxes are intended to reduce carbon dioxide (CO 2) emissions by increasing prices, thereby decreasing demand for such goods and services. Its effectiveness in achieving this objective is debatable as it is based on a superposition that consumers have a practical alternative to the taxed product, and this is not always the case.

In 2010 a carbon tax was introduced in Ireland. The carbon tax applies to kerosene, marked gas oil, liquid petroleum gas, fuel oil, natural gas and solid fuels such as coal and peat briquettes.

The rate of carbon tax from 1 May 2013 to 1 May 2014 was based on a charge of €10 per tonne of CO2 emitted by the fuel concerned. The rate increased to €20 per tonne with effect from 1 May 2014.

Budget 2021

It was announced in Budget 2021 that the carbon tax on fuel would increase by €7.50 from €26 per tonne to €33.50 per tonne. The increase applied to auto fuels from midnight on 13 October 2020 and to non-auto fuels like home heating and solid fuels from May 1st, 2021.

The Finance Bill legislated for a carbon tax hike of €7.50 every year until 2029 and €6.50 in 2030, to achieve €100 per tonne.

This will have very serious cost implications by the time the tax reaches €100 per tonne in a few years, and there is little you can do about it except find ways to reduce consumption.

What will it mean when it is €100 per tonne?

By that stage the carbon tax alone on a 60-litre refill of petrol will be €17.20, or €19.65 for diesel. As for home heating oil, it will add €259.10 to a 900-litre refill, €2.60 to that bale of peat briquettes if they still exist, €12 to the bag of coal and €230 to your annual gas bill.

Every euro on the official rate of carbon tax adds 0.28 cent per litre of petrol or 0.33 cent per litre of diesel.

May 1st

What you can do is order in any fuel, (gas, home-heating oil, coal and briquettes), you can before may 1st, to avoid the increase on your next top up. The saving is not huge but for many every little bit helps.

Every euro rise in carbon tax per tonne announced by the Government translates into €2.51 per 900-litre refill of kerosene (home heating oil). So the €7.50 per ton increase in carbon tax will lead to an increase of €19 for a 900 litre fill from May 1st.

For those still burning solid fuels, a 12.5kg bale of peat briquettes will go up by 20 cent, a 40kg bag of coal by 90 cent.

Tagged | Leave a comment

Alternatives to Renting Storage Space

If you seem to have too much stuff and no room to store it, buying or renting a storage unit might seem like your only option. But this can be expensive and is often a waste of money, especially if there are plenty of other alternatives for storing your items. If you already are paying for storage that now seems to be required for much longer than originally intended, now might be a good time to review your options.

Utilize Your Current Space

Before paying for a storage unit, consider the available space in your home. Can you fit something on top of a cabinet? What about under a bed or table? You’d be surprised by how many available spaces you probably have in your home.

Apartment Storage Areas

If you rent an apartment, have you checked to see if it comes with a storage space? There may be a storage area included as part of your rental agreement. Sometimes this is a basement, sometimes an attic, and sometimes the landlord has a shed or storage unit where you can temporarily store your things.

Store with a Friend

Why not ask if your friend can hold onto a couple of boxes for you? If you’re in the process of moving or renovating, storing items with a friend might be cheaper than paying for a storage unit. Of course, they need to have the space available and you need to make sure that you’re not giving them an overwhelming amount of boxes or items to hold.

Temporarily Lending Items

Instead of paying for a storage unit, you could temporarily lend items to a friend. Have a large wardrobe that doesn’t fit into your apartment, but that you don’t want to get rid of or store? Have a friend hold onto it and use it until you need it. Or see if a friend wants that painting that can’t fit onto the walls in your new apartment. Maybe a family member temporarily needs a couch and since you happen to be renovating your home, you need a temporary place to store it. Lending it out will get it off your hands for awhile and prevent you from spending money on a storage unit!

Give Away

Sometimes we hold onto items we think we might want later down the road, but we never end up using them. How many pieces of clothing, furniture, or appliances do you have tucked away somewhere? How long have they been sitting there? A lot of times, we’re just holding onto items for no good reason. In these cases, we may just end up putting items into storage and they’ll sit there for years. Instead, consider giving away to a friend or family member who has a use for it, or to a charity shop.

Buy or Build a Shed

If you own your own house, why not build your own storage unit? As long as you have enough room, it’s going to be cheaper to build your own shed than it would be to rent a storage unit. Plus, you won’t have to worry about dealing with a storage company, saving you a lot of time, money, and aggravation. If you pay €50 a month for a storage unit, that’s €600 a year. How much it would cost to own your own storage unit or shed in your backyard.

Any Attic Space?

Again, if you own your own home, have you unused space in the attic? This can be useful for seldom used items like Christmas decorations.


Have you been holding onto a bag of old clothes for years thinking that one day you might wear them again? What about that box of old textbooks that are ten years out of date? Maybe you have a couple of dish sets that are still in their original packing five years after you bought them. Before pushing all of these items into storage, go through them and get rid of what you don’t need. There’s no need to pay money to store items you don’t even want.

Sell Items

The best thing to do before buying a storage unit is to take an inventory of items you have to decide whether it’s really worth putting them in storage. You might find that you have too many items and could end up selling them instead, saving you having to pay for storage.

Consider Prices of Stored Items

Before you consider buying a storage unit, take stock of the value of your items. Are you paying more for a long term storage unit than your stuff is worth? If it’s cheaper to sell your old items and buy new ones to replace them, then avoid buying the storage unit.

For more useful ideas see the Cost Savings Book.

Tagged | Leave a comment

Saying a lot without saying a Word

Above delivered to the door.

Below care instructions on the packaging, because plants like people need to be treated with care, love and respect.

Keep costs down and do your little bit for the planet by embedding instructions in packaging and so eliminating need for extra paper for them.

For more useful ideas see the Cost Savings Book.

Tagged | Leave a comment

April Fool’s Day

Beware today is April first,

when flippant pranksters do their worst.

Best be careful for today.

By tomorrow you can say

“April Fool is past and gone,

You’re the Fool to carry on”.

In the meantime hide your frowns,

and within reason, indulge the clowns.

Because when all is said and done,

it is simply meant to be a bit of fun.

Noel’s Poetry | GMG (

Posted in poetry | Leave a comment

A little reminder to set your clock forward

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Maximise Benefit of Supermarket Till Receipts, Discounted Vouchers and Loyalty Schemes

Dunnes Stores Value club card and discount vouchers

Dunnes Stores for example give you a €10 off your next spend of €50 by a particular date for every €50 you spend in a single shop in the grocery section. This is fine if your typical shop is about €50 anyway. But if you are only shopping for yourself and €25 is more typical for you you can still take advantage of the offer if you are organised enough to cooperate with someone else who also has a sub €50 shop to do, or if you stock up on non-perishable goods like canned or frozen foods, household cleaners and toiletries. To maximise the benefit from this type of offer shop to a list of necessities and make up the difference to the limit at which the discount kicks in with items you definitely will use and which can be stored for a while. Do not exceed the limit by much, but rather save further spending until you can use the next discount voucher. €10 off a spend of €50 is a 20% discount but €10 off say €60 reduces the discount to 16.7%, which adds up over a year’s shopping. Since I signed up for their newsletter they occasionally email me €10 off a spend of €40, that is a 25% discount, that I can have scanned from my phone at the checkout. The price I pay is that I get advertising emails into my inbox.

If you have a voucher on a till receipt that you know you will not use why not pass it on to someone who may. They might return the favour to you another time.

Customers who sign up for the Value Club card are awarded one point worth one cent for every €1 spent. Once you have collected at least 400 points each quarter, you will receive a mailing in which your points are converted to Money Off Vouchers which can be used in any department in any Dunnes Stores outlet. As well as your money off vouchers, they will send you additional money off coupons and offers in your mailing.

If you have an Avantcard credit card you will no longer get Tesco clubcard points for any spent on it from March 31st, 2021, but if you are signed up to its “Advantages” scheme you can earn cash back on some online purchases if you go through affiliate links on the scheme’s website. These include a five percent discount (less €2.25 postage) on purchases of Dunnes Stores vouchers. The vouchers are available in multiples of €10. So you purchase €100 for €95 less €2.25 postage, giving a net discount of 2.75%. If you purchase €200 worth at a time the net discount is 3.875% as the deduction for postage remains the same. You need a debit card to make the purchase. Maximise the benefit by combining prepaid vouchers at the discounted price with the money off offers on till receipts and collecting your club card points. Good management of your shopping in Dunnes should enable you to reduce your annual spend by over 20%.

The above is taken from our Cost Savings Book.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Lá ‘le Pádraig sona daoibh

Below taken from

Useful Irish phrases

A collection of useful phrases in Irish, a celtic language spoken in Ireland.

Key to abbreviations:

sg = singular (said to one person),

pl = plural (said to more than one person).

tú / agat / leat / ort / duit are used for one person
sibh / agaibh / libh / oraibh / daoibh are used more than one person

See these phrases in any combination of two languages in the Phrase Finder. If you can provide recordings, corrections or additional translations, please contact me.

EnglishGaeilge (Irish)
Tá fáilte romhat (sg)
Tá fáilte romhaibh (pl)
Fáilte romhat isteach!
Céad míle fáilte
(a hundred thousand welcomes)
Hello (General greeting)Dia dhuit (sg)
Dia dhaoibh (pl)
Dia is Muire dhuit (sg) – reply
Dia is Muire dhaoibh (pl) – reply
How are you?Conas atá tú (Mun)
Cén chaoi a bhfuil tú (Con)
Cad é mar atá tú (Ul)
Conas atá cúrsaí leat?
An bhfuil aon scéal agat?
An bhfuil tú go maith?
Reply to ‘How are you?’Tá mé go maith, go raibh maith agat,
agus tú fein?
Tá mé go maith, go raibh maith agaibh,
agus sibh fein?
Long time no seeNí fhaca mé le fada thú (sg)
Ní fhaca mé le fada sibh (pl)
What’s your name?Cén t-ainm atá ort? (sg)
Cén t-ainm atá oraibh? (pl)
Cad is ainm duit? (sg)
Cad is ainm daoibh? (pl)
C’ainm atá ort? (sg)
C’ainm atá oraibh? (pl) – Ul
My name is …Is mise …
Mise …
… is ainm dom
Where are you from?Cá as duit? (Mun)
Cárb as duit? (Ul)
Cé as thú? (Con)
I’m from …Is as … dom
Is as … mé
Pleased to meet youTá áthas orm buaileadh leat (sg)
Tá áthas orm buaileadh libh (pl)
Good morning
(Morning greeting)
Dia dhuit ar maidin (sg)
Dia dhaoibh ar maidin (pl)
Maidin mhaith
Good afternoon
(Afternoon greeting)
Tráthnóna maith duit (sg)
Tráthnóna maith daoibh (pl)
Good evening
(Evening greeting)
Tráthnóna maith duit (sg)
Tráthnóna maith daoibh (pl)
Good nightOíche mhaith
Oíche mhaith agus codladh sámh
(Good night and sleep well)
(Parting phrases)
Slán go fóill
Slán agat (to one peron who is staying)
Slán agaibh (to more than one person who is staying)
Slán leat (to one person who is leaving)
Slán libh (to more than one person who is leaving)
Feicfidh mé ar ball thú (sg – See you later)
Feicfidh mé ar ball sibh (pl – See you later)
Chífidh mé ar ball thú (sg – See you later) – Ulster
Chífidh mé ar ball sibh (pl – See you later) – Ulster
Good luck!Go n-éirí an t-ádh leat!
Ádh mór ort!
Go n-éirí an bóthar leat!
Cheers! Good Health!
(Toasts used when drinking)
Sláinte! (Health)
Sláinte mhaith! (Good health)
Sláinte agus táinte! (Health and wealth)
Sláinte chuig na fir, agus go mairfidh na mná go deo!
(Health to the men and may the women live forever)
Croí folláin agus gob fliuch!
(A healthy heart and a wet mouth)
Fad saol agat, gob fliuch, agus bás in Éirinn!
(Long life to you, a wet mouth, and death in Ireland)
Bon voyage /
Have a good journey
Go dté tú slán (May you go safely)
Slán abhaile (Safe home)
Go n-éirí an bothar leat
(May you(r journey/road) be successful)
I don’t knowNíl a fhios agam
Níl fhios agam
Do you understand?An dtuigeann tú? (sg)
An dtuigeann sibh? (pl)
I understandTuigim
I don’t understandNí thuigim
Cha dtuigim (Ul)
Please speak more slowlyAn miste leat labhairt níos moille?
An bhféadfá labhairt níos moille, le do thoil?
Please say that againAbair sin arís, le do thoil
Please write it downAn féidir leat é sin a scríobh síos dom?
An scríobhfaidh tú é sin síos dom?
Do you speak English?An bhfuil Béarla agat? (sg)
An bhfuil Béarla agaibh? (pl)
Do you speak Irish?An bhfuil Gaeilge agat? (sg)
An bhfuil Gaeilge agaibh? (pl)
Yes, a little
(reply to ‘Do you speak …?’)
Tá, beagán
Tá, cúpla focal
Do you speak a language
other than
An bhfuil teanga ar bith eile agat seachas Gaeilge?
An bhfuil teanga ar bith eile agat diomaite den Ghaeilge?
Seachas Gaeilge, an bhfuil teanga eile agat?
Speak to me in IrishLabhair Gaeilge liom
How do you say … in Irish?Cad í an Ghaeilge ar …?
Excuse meGabh mo leithscéal
How much is this?Cá mhéad atá seo?
Cá mhéad?
SorryGabh mo leithscéal!
Tá brón orm!
PleaseLe do thoil (sg)
Le bhur dtoil (pl)
Más é do thoil é (sg)
Más é bhur dtoil é (pl)
Thank youGo raibh maith agat (sg)
Go raibh maith agaibh (pl)
Go raibh míle maith agat (sg)
Go raibh míle maith agaibh (pl)
Gura míle (inf)
Reply to thank you’Sé do bheatha
Ná habair é
Tá fáilte romhat
Where’s the toilet / bathroom?Cá bhfuil an leithreas?
This gentleman will pay for everythingÍocfaidh an fear seo as gach rud
This lady will pay for everythingÍocfaidh an bhean seo as gach rud
Would you like to dance with me?Ar mhaith leat damhsa liom?
Do you come here often?An dtagann tú anseo go minic?
I miss youCrónaím thú
Airím uaim thú
Is fada liom uaim thú
I love youGráím thú (I love you)
Tugaim cion duit (I give you affection)
Tá cion agam ort (I have affection for you)
Tá mé ceanúil ort (I have affection for you)
Tá grá agam duit (I have love for you)
Táim i ngrá leat (I’m in love with you)
Tá mo chroí istigh ionat (My heart is within you)
Adhraím thú (I adore you)
Get well soonGo raibh biseach ort gan mhoill!
Go away!Lig dom
Leave me alone!Fág i m’éinear mé!
Call the police!Glaoigh ar na gardaí!
Cuir fios ar na gardaí!
Christmas greetingsNollaig shona duit (sg)
Nollaig shona daoibh (pl)
Beannachtaí na Nollag
Beannachtaí an tSéasúir (Season’s Greetings)
New Year greetingsAthbhliain faoi mhaise duit (Prosperous New Year)
Bliain úr faoi shéan is faoi mhaise duit (Happy New Year to you)
Easter greetingsCáisc Shona duit (sg)
Cáisc Shona daoibh (pl)
Beannachtaí na Cásca
Birthday greetingsBreithlá sona duit
Lá breithe sona duit
Go maire tú do nuacht!
St Patrick’s Day GreetingsLá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit (sg)
Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhaoibh (pl)
Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig dhuit (sg)
Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh (pl)
One language is never enoughNí leor teanga amháin
My hovercraft is full of eelsTá m’árthach foluaineach lán d’eascanna

Recordings and/or corrections by John O’Brien and Siobhán Ní Chathasaigh and Ruairí Ó hEithir

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Happy Mother’s Day

mother's day flowers

A Sunday in March, every year is given for Mother’s Day.
We always like to celebrate with her in a special way.
But this year is different, its not the same.
Coronavirus, Covid-19, is to blame.
Even if the virus means you can’t be there,
You can still offer best wishes and a little prayer.
Whether you are far away or close to home,
Take the time to pick up the phone.
Its nice to give cards, chocolates, flowers and other stuff,
But often a loving, caring, spoken word is quite enough.
While this of course is a special day,
In truth, you could make everyday be Mothers Day.

Noel’s Poetry | GMG (

Posted in poetry | 1 Comment

Save on TV Subscriptions

The disruption caused by covid-19 has meant that many people have had to review their financial position and deem it prudent to make economies where they can. TV subscriptions are definitely in the optional extra category when it comes to ones expenses, and so are an area where you might be able to make some worthwhile cost savings.

With finer weather on the way, viewing on the small screen will likely go even further down the priority list. But even so, we still want to be entertained at times.

If you do not use it stop paying the subscription for extra TV channels and streaming services. If you only use part of the package can you get the reduced package for less? There are free streaming TV services available. Would these satisfy your requirements? You have to sit through some ads but its a small price to pay for access to some good boxsets.

List of free streaming TV

ServiceFree trial periodStrart Trial LinksContent notes
All 4FreeWatch it hereOn-demand content from Channel 4, E4, More4, Film4 and 4Music
KanopyFree (with library card)Watch it hereEducational films and documentaries, as well as arthouse projects and local movie classics.
LivestreamFreeWatch it hereSelection of super niche steams, mostly news, from around the world. Hosted by Vimeo
Redbull TVFreeWatch it hereOn-demand and streaming extreme sports movies and documentaries, as well as live sport feeds.
RTÉ PlayerFreeWatch it hereCatch-up TV and exclusive content from channels RTÉ 1 & 2, RTÉjr, and RTÉ News Now
TG4 LiveFreeWatch it hereLive stream content from channel TG4
The Story of StuffFreeWatch it hereAnimated shorts about being environmentally aware.
Thought MaybeFreeWatch it hereDocumentaries themed around political or social change.
Virgin Media PlayerFreeWatch it hereLive and catch-up TV, as well as on-demand content, from channels watch Virgin Media One, Two and Three.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment