Metrication in Ireland

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Warning sign about the metric system used in Ireland

Ireland inherited the imperial system of measurement from Britain, and these units continued to be used after Irish independence. Due to Ireland's membership in the European Union (EU) metric units were introduced in the 1970s, with the changeover to metric completed by 2005.


During the First World War and after the Easter Rising, Charles A Stanuell, former President of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland published a paper advocating the use of the metric system and a decimal currency in the UK, of which Ireland was then a part.[1]

Metrication began in the State in the 1970s and by 2005 was almost completed; the only exception being that the imperial pint (568 ml) is still used in bars for reasons of tradition. The phrase a "glass of beer" is a colloqual expression for a half-pint (284 ml).[2] All other places must sell liquids measured in millilitres and litres.

Distance signs had displayed kilometres since the 1970s but road speed limits were in miles per hour until January 2005, when they were finally changed to kilometres per hour. Since 2005 all new cars sold in Ireland have speedometers that display only kilometres per hour; odometers generally became metric as well.

The metric system is the only system taught in schools. Beginning in 1970, textbooks were changed to metric. Goods in shops are labelled in metric units.

References in Oireachtas debates[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Stanuell, Charles A. (1915–1917). "Weights and measures after the war" (PDF). Journal of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland. Dublin. XCVI (XIII): 460–473. 
  2. ^ "'Morning After' Campaign". Mature Enjoyment of Alcohol in Society. Retrieved 14 January 2014.