The Irish Passport

So my new job have decided to send me off to San Francisco in November for training purposes. They will fly me there and back, send me to the annual geekfest that is the Adobe Max conference, and put me up in a rather swish hotel, the nightly rate of which has three figures and the first figure isn’t a 1, or even a 2.

The project leader who fixed this for me and one other workmate has just announced that she is quitting, so we can only assume that this was her closing salvo to waste some of the company’s money. But, you know, whatever – I’m off to the West Coast and that’s good enough for me.

However…there is the slight matter of the Passport. I currently hold an Irish passport, and it’s a nasty piece of work. In fact it looks like it was thrown together by a kindergarten class after a hard night of rum shots.

It’s handwritten, for the love of Carl. Hand-written! Naturally enough , the US won’t accept such a dodgy piece of drivel and so now in order to get into the land of hope and glory, I will need a new passport. The Irish Embassy in Stockholm (a window in a building in the Östermalm district, about as impressive as a hot-dog stand) sent me the papers and I have spent a happy evening filling them in.

All until section 9, which demands that I locate a witness who will verify my existence. And presumably stand for the bail if I get taken for terrorist activities when I step off the plane.

The form helpfully suggests a list of possible “witnesses”, including:

  • An Irish policeman
  • A Priest
  • A Doctor
  • A Lawyer
  • A Bank Manager (!)
  • A Politician
  • A Notarius Publicus
  • A “Peace Commissioner”
  • A School Principal
  • An Accountant

So this is the official Irish list of “people who can be trusted”? Hmmm indeed. As we all know, Irish priests can always be trusted not to slip you one behind the bike shed. And Irish Politicians are as honest as the day is marzipan. Not to mention the rest of them, a sorry bunch of bandits if ever I saw one.

Luckily there is an accountant or two in my job, as well as a few lawyers. And they, despite having only know me for 3 months, can probably vouch for the fact that I have not been field-stripping AK-47s during lunch.

Hopefully the new passport, when it comes, won’t have any parts written in crayon. And it might even have those little boxes where you can mark “I am not a terrorist”, “I think the 2-party electoral system is just super” and “I promise not to steal your women, not even the ones from Ohio”.

/ paddy


32 thoughts on “The Irish Passport

  1. Well, well….

    I India I met a American guy who told me that he knew someone working for the American Migrationboard and that that guy “helped” an Ukrainan family without passport to get a Green card by just phoning the right people because he thought they could give something back to the state later on. Well, myself worked fot the Swedish Migrationboard and i would have get sacked for that. So simply, just get in touch with few of those Irish people (im Irish-no Irish from Queens, my granfathers neighbours dogs teachers uncles mums childrens granparents sisters grandfather came from Cork, no not Cork IReland but Cork Arkansas and his granfathers, mothers, mothers, parents…..came from Donegal, thus im Irish) who gives loads of money to fundamental organizations like IRA in order to keep their farfetched identity. Im sure one of them atleast work for any emabssy or so.

    Yeah, whats with Irish and trusted titels? Only on Ryan Air i have to choose between Mr, Mrs, Miss and Doctor, when booking online. I though it was a great idea if someone gets sick in the air, but i think its not actually according to a man in the safty control.

  2. I don’t understand why you can’t use your existing passpot – the dates seem fine – I’ve got the same one and have never had a problem travelling to the US (but mine has a different picture on it – mine not yours, and a different set of dates and name..).

    Are they insisting on the biometric ones already?

    I have no pics of my biometry!

  3. Martin: I trust you, except when it comes to prostrate testing.

    Stefan: But I feel like a million dollars.

    Alex: Are you on a coast? I didn’t know that.

    csrster: It’s OK, I will also wear one going through security.

  4. H: I think just filling in the form would be easier. Less fun, but easier. And did you ever choose Doctor on Ryanair? Maybe you get better food. Or a free scratch card.

    Dec: Yes, its biometric all the way. And anyway I’m happy to get rid of it, it is a bit embarrassing.

  5. Oh yeah I did! And then I did regret it. What if a fat man got a heartattack! But then i realized that they dont check, they will shout out loud anyway in the loudspeaksystem: Attention, attention is there any doctor aboard? I think they would land in that case actually. They land for everything nowdays. The got good insurance. But before Ryan Air would possible ask in the loadspeakersystem, they would make comercal and then tell the passanger that its the last chance to be millionair by bying lots on the Ryan Air lottery and then they have to tell the number of tickets, so some of the passanger can get a free ticket anywhere on Ryan Airs destionations in Europe (Marocko´not included). So probably the passanger would die anyway. Conclusion: Irish people are cruel and money-thirsty.

  6. Nice pic. You look like a serious man but I agree about the passport. A new one would do.
    For me Dublin´s next, we will visit a hospital, two docs and have the traditional The Old Jameson Distillery Tour. The last I plan to skip and instead go for a riding tour in Phoenix Park.

  7. You know, Paddy, if you ever miss that “drunk kindergarten class” look, there will be plenty of blank pages in the new passport that you can fill will colourful pictures – in crayon if you so desire ;-)

  8. “the official Irish list of “people who can be trusted””

    Sounds to me like a bad case of “old laws from the fifteenth century kept for the sake of historical value”. Sweden is not so good at that nowadays. Just a few years ago they did away with the law giving the nobility the right of being executed by sword. Nowadays we have to be hung instead, like the ordinary populace. Hmph.


  9. Diskussion på dagens personalmöte: Vad tar man med som gåva till ett hospice i Dublin? Någon föreslog svensk kristall eller diabas men det tycker jag låter trist.
    Hjortron-eller lingonsylt? Dalahäst? Absolut Vodka? Hmmmm….

  10. Dalahorses must be the most meaningless and top cliché present a swede can give away to foreigners. Except for vikings in different forms and shapes with horned helmets (do not get me started on the horns).

    Oh, now I totally lost my thought here, which leads to me finishing this comment.

  11. Those Americans can’t be too careful when it comes to keeping out undesirables! Obviously, a sweet little Irish priest makes them think of all those 1930s movies when Father O’Reilly managed to reform the local bad boy.

  12. We’re also dealing with the passport stuff, for a joint Australian / Irish citizen who’s too small to do her own paperwork. The thing I found completely hilarious was the examples of correct and incorrect passport photos – they’re online at as a pdf of passport photo guidelines. And when I moved to Australia, I did actually have to sign a form saying that I wasn’t a terrorist. Seriously.

  13. A friend of my daughter tried to use his driving license as an id to get in to a bar in Stockholm… a small hand-written piece of paper from Kerry. Big laugh, bad luck at the door.

  14. ullis: Horned helmets are always a good gift choice.

    Around My Kitchen Table: Yeah, America already has more than enough undesirables.

    Conor: Did you also promise to not become a terrorist in the future?

    Annaa: Welcome back! Yes, the Irish like their handwritten ID. It works because Catholics never cheat.

  15. It’s great that all you have to do is sign a form saying I am not a terrorist… and voila! You are not a terrorist. Wonder if real terrorists realize that they have to quit terrorizing once they have signed such a form?…

    And ULLIS: Dala horses are so useful! We have one on the kitchen window ledge and she is laden down with masses and masses of colourful bracelets which the kids have made. In fact, she now looks like an artefact from India or Design Torget…

  16. I love that form where you deny being a terrorist, communist, nazi or drug-abuser. “Are you planning on killing the president?” Y…yyyyeeeennno! No!

    And if you kill the president? Do they then wave that form in front of you and whine “But you promised you wouldn’t!”?

  17. In Sweden there is a declaration called ” heder och samvete”- you
    solemnly declare with your signature that its true since you sign it. It´s very valid and apply to important decisions and so on within the naive Swedish state. If you cheat on the system you probably just get some light sentence like fines. So if it works for the swedish state why wouldnt it work for an airport or an embassy or Migrationboard. If you declared you are not a terrorist ok, and if you are you just have to pay some money if you not already dead. But if you just get hurted a little the state takes care of you and give you sjukpension—disability pension. So Paddy its good you live in Sweden and might be a terrorist.

  18. LadyFi: They cross their fingers when they sign the form. Then it doesn’t count.

    Felicia: Yes – if you break tour promise you have to do the dishes for a whole week.

    Orvar: Although in many other countries we have “swearing to God on the bible” before giving a statement in court and so on. And God sends you a bill if you lie, I suppose.

  19. Felicia Gilljam: “I love that form where you deny being a terrorist, communist, nazi or drug-abuser. “Are you planning on killing the president?” Y…yyyyeeeennno! No!”

    Who on earth would be stupid enough to kill the president? That would only end his misery too quickly and that wouldn’t be any fun, now would it? If you’re gonna nab the prez, you may as well go all out.

  20. Now you can write another chapter about this issue, how to get a policeman etc. in a country when you don´t know those kind of people. Is a Swedish priest valid by the way? And what if he is a she and have a normal sexlife?!!! Time to raise those questions in the EU. Its a case of discrimination, other professional people are not valid and why? A doctor did swear to save life but not to write falsh prescriptions which they sometimes do to drugaddicts or refugees and a priest did swear to save God but who else….

  21. Glen: Yes, let him boil and suffer. The prick.

    H: Oh I don’t know, do a sequel to a blog entry? And ruin my artistic reputation? I’ll have to think about it.

  22. Karin: Yes, I’m sure they all have a good chuckle behind my back. In fact, that’s why they sometimes make a photocopy of it and put it up in the coffee room.

  23. I thought that these days the only handwritten (and thus not “machine readable”) passports were temporary/emergency ones or any issues by an honorary consul. However yours shows a 10 year validity! How did you get it?!!!

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