Telecom Eireann initially rolled out three different Callcard trials, throughout the years 1988-1989. The phonecard types trialled at the time were the cheaper, more typically used magnetic strip cards. The exception being the Galway trial that used the more secure optical tracking strip.
The magnetic strip contained on the back of these cards contained a secured track containing the cards units, as well as security functions. The Landis & Gyr optical card contained a long narrow track, that the cardphone reader could read and also erase units stored within it. Landis & Gyr cards could also be visually marked, where the track is burnt by the card reader. This functionality depended on the card reader that was used.
The Irish phonecard trials took place in the following cities:
The Dublin trial used the GPT (Plessey) magnetic card system. A series of cards were made, in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 unit cards. Interestingly during this trial, a special Callcard to commemorate the Dublin 1988 millennium was issued, which depicts the Ha'Penny Bridge in Dublin with a night time setting. The Dublin Millennium of 1988 was a major event for the city.
Also issued was a Cork FITCE card to delegates attending the 1988 FITCE Conference in Cork. This card is very interesting as it is an official overprint of the 1, 000 unit GPT test card. Unfortunately for the conference goers this particular card was only encoded with 100 units!
|Dublin City Centre||North Dublin||South Dublin / Dublin County|
|Aston Quay||Ballymun Shopping Centre||Ballyfermot Road|
|Busarus, Store Street||
|Cathal Brugha Street||Kingsbridge|
|College Green/Westmorland Street||Lower Rathmines Road|
|Connolly Station, Amiens Street||Swan Centre Rathmines|
|G.P.O, O' Connell Street||U.C.D Belfield|
|O' Connell Street||Dublin Airport|
|South Great George's Street||Main Street Maynooth|
|St. Stephen's Green|
|Switzer's, Grafton Street|
|Trinity College - Arts Building|
The Limerick trial used the Autelca magnetic card system. Like the Dublin trial the Autelca cards came in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 unit cards.
Like with the Dublin trial, the Autelca trial also saw the production of special cards. The Irish Management Institute's (IMI) 1989 Ireland's Europe conference had two Callcards produced, a 20 and a 50 unit card.
These cards were issued free of charge to delegates at the conference and with very low print runs (20 unit 250 produced, 50 unit 750 produced) not many were kept and a large majority were binned by hotel staff after the conference. These cards are considered the most valuable Callcards.
|Limerick City||Couty Limerick||County Clare|
|Cecil Street||Bruff||Shannon Town Centre|
|Colbert Railway Station||Castletroy|
|Crescent Shopping Centre||Hospital|
|Dunnes Stores, Sarsfield Street||University of Limerick|
|Estuary House, Henry Street|
|Mary Immaculate Training College|
|Parkway Shopping Centre|
|School of Engineering Moyish|
|St. Enda's Community School|
|St. Joseph Street|
In November 1989 the Galway trial commenced using the Landis & Gyr Optical card system. The Optical system consists of a long, narrow track containing the card unit information and security which the reader can read and erase. This system was more secure than the previous two trials, dublin and Galway.
The Galway trial was very short lived and by the year 1990 Telecom Eireann had favoured chip cards as the system of choice. Interestingly due to the Galway trials short span, used cards are rarer than the mint ones! A surplus of these mint cards were issued to the collectors club following the trial.
|Dunnes Stores Terryland|
|Salthill Car Park|
|University College Galway|
The Callcard trial location information has been taken from the book: "The Concise Irish Callcard Catalogue 5th Edition (1999)" - by Piero Tintori.
Continue Reading: The Chipcard Introduction