Northern Ireland number plate; Northern Ireland plates
The Northern Ireland system of vehicle registration began in 1903. Northern Ireland number plates fall under Northern Ireland's own registration system, which differs from the UK system both in terms of the format of the number plate, and the governing body.
In terms of format, a Northern Ireland number plate consists of two or three letters, one of which is always an "I" or a "Z", and up to four numbers; for instance GIL 1234. Two of the letters are county codes, for instance AZ for Belfast, VZ for Tyrone, etc.
The Northern Ireland system is governed by the DVLNI in Coleraine, who deal with allocation and transfers. Transfers can take place anywhere in the United Kingdom, which means that Irish number plates can often be seen on vehicles in England, Scotland and Wales.
The Northern Ireland number plate is often used to disguise the age of vehicles because, in effect, it is what is known as a 'dateless number plate'. A dateless number plate has no year identifier - and whether it's in the UK or Northern Ireland, it's not really possible to accurately specify the age of a vehicle sporting a dateless registration.
A Northern Ireland number plate can make a great future investment. Take, for example, the BIG sequence of Irish plates. A few years ago BIG plates could be snapped up for just £50, but are now worth £1000 or more. This increase in value is remarkable, especially when taking into account the economic situation in the UK currently.
Those who look hard enough will find some brilliant Northern Ireland number plates - take LZ 1, for instance. This Northern Ireland number plate was owned by Peter Grant, manager of Led Zeppelin - what a fantastic Irish registration!