The term "Irish Number Plates" is a bit misleading.
To be absolutely accurate, the type of registration marks which can take part in the cherished transfer scheme are from Northern Ireland. Plates on vehicles registered in Southern Ireland are not eligible.
Northern Ireland has its own system of registering vehicles through Coleraine. There are fewer local offices than on the mainland namely: Armagh, Omagh, Enniskillen, Belfast, Londonderry, Downpatrick, Ballymena and Coleraine.
[STOP PRESS: All local DVLA offices closed in December 2013. With DVLA and DVLNI services becoming amalgamated it is expected that local offices in NI will close. Presumably, Coleraine will remain open.]
There is a system of age-identifiers but, as it is not widely recognisable, it has led to NI plates being used as convenient "cover" plates. In other words, these plates can be used to disguise the year of your vehicle. Well would you know how old a car was if it was registered with KEZ 9620 or LJZ 1553? Also, since it is too complicated to enforce, Irish plates are treated as "dateless" i.e. they can be transferred to any DVLA registered vehicle which qualifies to take part under the regulations.
There is also an area-identifier, for example, Enniskillen originally alloctaed "IL" marks. These were followed by AIL, BIL, CIL, DIL, EIL, etc. The Irish system allows for 1, 2, 3 or 4 numbers - for example TIL 4178 or VIL 8263. This leads to the easy formation of names or words such as ANZ 5429, DAZ 3917, BIG 9905, EDZ 4561, DIG 8672, MIL 7931, RIA 4095 and so on. This range is also very reasonably priced, also our section on cheap number plates may also be useful to you.
A cheap Irish number can make a less costly alternative to the more expensive dateless number plates.
All the above examples would be on NI registered vehicles and involve a vehicle to vehicle transfer through Coleraine. We at National Numbers were amongst the first to develop the market in Irish number plates and have our own collection of vehicles administered by our NI representative. We also organise the sale of Irish numbers owned by members of the public. The retention scheme does not extend to NI registered vehicles at present unfortunately.
[STOP PRESS: At long last this facility is about to be extended to Northern Ireland.]
However, DVLNI (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Northern Ireland) hold their own auctions, having with-held certain attractive Irish number plates from general allocation. These auction plates tend to be shorter, for example: ACZ 20, BEZ 80, EAZ 944, JIL 24 etc. Such marks are obviously more expensive then the examples quoted earlier and are issued on certificates of entitlement. The snag is that they have to be registered on a NI registered vehicle first before being transferred onto a DVLA vehicle. Do not despair - sounds complicated - but remember our collection of vehicles in NI mentioned earlier? Well, we simply call in your vehicle documents and do the whole transaction as a line of dominoes. All you have to do is wait for your new DVLA tax disc to drop through your letter box. Now that all registration documents are uniform (previously, Northern Ireland documents looked very different) perhaps this slightly combersome arrangement will be simplified. This clumsy system is about to be streamlined. Of course, if you are a Northern Ireland resident, then we can assign an irish number plate held on certificate straight onto your vehicle.
As mentioned previously, we have dealt in NI marks for a long time - our chap, John, over in Stewartstown is a very valued member of the team. In fact, we find the NI people in general among the most pleasant and helpful of our contacts. Sometimes we have to ask them to slow down when we speak to them on the phone, but they are invariably a pleasure to deal with.
The equivalent of DVLA is centred at Coleraine, being known as DVLNI (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Northern Ireland) and is administered by the DOE (Dept. of Environment).
If you are interested, you now have an idea of what you are looking for - always an "I" or a "Z" somewhere in the letters combined with 1, 2, 3 or 4 numbers. Since we were pioneers in the market, you can rely on us to handle the transfer efficiently - we have years of experience.