Saturday, December 11, 2010

Waste collection in Cork

Hopefully you are in your own house by now. You might have noticed the outrageous number of wheelie bins. Actually, there is one bin in front of every apartment. Every resident has to register with a refuse collection company, and a recycling deal. The usual suspects are:

There was a bin assigned to the house I rented, with a Cork City Council sticker on it. What I didn't know is that I also need to put a tag on the handle each time I want the waste to be collected. 
The collections are bi-weekly, usually one week domestic waste and the next week recycling.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

PPS number

So you've just landed in Ireland.  You might have already found a place to stay, a house, an apartment, a hotel or even a student hall. But the single most important thing to do is to get a PPS number.
The PPS (personal public service) number is the equivalent of a social security number. You can't get payed or rent a house without one. It's pretty darn important and this is the first thing you should do when you move to Ireland. In order to get one, you ned a valid means of Identification and a proof of residence. A valid Irish phone number as well as possible proof of employment could come in handy. 

Since you are most probably a non-Irish national, a valid passport is more than enough. My guess is that a national ID or a drivers licence could suffice, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Proof of residence:
I said that you need a PPS number in order to rent a house, and now that you need a house to get a PPS number. Puzzled? You shouldn't be. 
As you will find out, the Irish are relaxed about things. Laws are there to get bent a bit (except parking violations). So... you can get a letter from your hotel manager, saying that you live there, or if you found a place to rent, a letter from the owner or the real estate agent. Just ask. They are quite used to the letter referencing system, so they will most probably be happy to oblige.

Irish phone number:
If you don't have a landline, a mobile phone number is perfectly OK. You can get a free SIM from every major mobile telephony operator (O2, 3, Vodafone, Meteor). O2 seems to be the most popular. A walk in Patrick Street, Cork will let you find these operators.

Proof of employment:
I started a Ph.D. so I had a letter prepared for me by the Department administration office. This letter includes my name, Passport number, address of residence, work address, the estimated duration of employment (Ph.D.: four years), and the annual salary.

When you gather the necessary paperwork, you should head for the social welfare office. 

View Cork Social welfare office in a larger map

Head here early-ish, or you might need up to an hour or more of waiting. If your documents are in order, you will be notified of your PPS number via mail in up to two weeks time. If you are in a hurry, you might be able to obtain your PPS number if you phone the welfare office.


Living in Ireland can be a bit tricky, especially if you are not accustomed to the Irish/British way of life. So many things to do, so little time to do them, and even less knowledge of how to do them!
I'm a newly arrived Ph.D. student in Cork, Ireland. I've struggled to find my way around the city, do the things that need to be done and start living my life here. I start this blog to help any other newcomers to Ireland (in particular in Cork), but also as a notepad for myself.
Comments are welcome, and more than encouraged. If you feel the need to contact me, I'm always free for a pint!