The Trial Callcards

Author: Nick RankinCreated: Saturday, November 25th 2017, 7:15 pm Modified: Friday, October 1st 2021, 5:00 pm

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:


Dublin Trial

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 Trial Locations

Dublin City Centre North Dublin South Dublin / Dublin County
  Aston Quay   Ballymun Shopping Centre   Ballyfermot Road
  Busarus, Store Street  

 DCU Glasnevin

  Heuston Station
  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      



Limerick Trial

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 Trial Locations

Limerick City Couty Limerick County Clare
 Bedford Row  Askeaton  Newmarket-on-Fergus
 Cecil Street  Bruff  Shannon Town Centre
 Clare Street  Castleconnell   
 Colbert Railway Station  Castletroy   
 Crescent Shopping Centre  Hospital   
 Dooradoyle  Plassey Village   
 Dunnes Stores, Sarsfield Street  University of Limerick   
 Estuary House, Henry Street      
 Jurys Hotel      
 Mary Immaculate Training College      
 Mary Street      
 Parkway Shopping Centre      
 Regional Hospital      
 School of Engineering Moyish      
 St. Enda's Community School      
 St. Joseph Street      
 Williams Street      



Galway Trial

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.

Galway Trial Locations

Galway City
 Dunnes Stores Terryland
 Eglinton Street
 Eyre Square
 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.

Leave a comment...

Josephine Culhane Avatar
Josephine Culhane
Posted - 1 year ago

To whom it concerns,

I would be most grateful if you would let me know what I can do with a few old call cards that I still have at home and never used. As there are no more telephone kiosks around I cannot use them there.

                          Thanking you,

                                                      Josephine Culhane                                   


Reply - To whom it concerns, I would be mo... (Jump to comment)
Mark Avatar
Posted - 1 year ago

Hi Josephine can you email pictures to me

Reply - To whom it concerns, I would be mo... (Jump to comment)
Nick Rankin Avatar
Nick Rankin (Administrator)
Posted - 1 year ago

Hi Josephine, Drop me an email with some photos of your unused Callcards and I can advise you how much they could be sold for these days, Best regards, Nick

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