Ireland is rare in the industrialized world in that it doesn’t have postal codes—at all. In the countryside, some places don’t have street names or house numbers even. But the country is moving from one of the world’s most opaque postal systems to one of the most detailed. Ireland’s upcoming postal code system will assign numbers to every home and business in the country at a cost of $32 million.
From spring 2015, 2.2 million households will have a unique seven-character number for their address in a system to be called Eircode. (Residents will have their new numbers sent to them by post, of course.) The government acknowledges that the system will make it easier to collect tax revenues, which has led to some grumbling about the real intentions.