To start go to www.etci.ie
for the current regs. The documentation is available for a few euro-quid
You're probabally quite right in your assessment of the wiring in your home. Some bright DIY sparkie back in the 1970s probabally "upgraded" the old Euro-style outlets to BS1363 without installing earths. If the wiring dates from that far back, it would have had a mixture of schuko (grounded) and 2-pin ungrounded outlets. Could even have been a mix of 2-pin euro + BS546 15A !
The evidence of an old 3-phase supply is also due to our more European electrical heritage. Some areas would have been wired to cope with relatively low amperage single phase services. Anything >50A (and sometimes 20A) had to go 3-phase. So, larger homes certainly had 3-phase supplies. Different circuits would have been on different phases to balance the load.
Basically if you're wiring there are a few things to bare in mind that are different from the UK.
1) The European colour codes apply to all new wiring. Don't use black/red. It's been gone quite a long time.
2) Sockets generally sit on 20A radials rather than rings, although rings are permitted under the regs. RCDs are compulsary on ALL socket outlets <32Amps. (since 1981)
3) The panel / consumer unit MUST carry a master breaker or main fuse rated at the max rating for the panel. It's not permitted to connect the panel directly to the mains and rely on the supply fuse. This is usually a minized switch-fuse thesedays. Fits on a DIN rail occupying the same space as a normal breaker.
4) Cooker Control units (socket/switch combo) are illegal. You usually install a flush appropriately rated switch beside the cooker / hob and use normal double socket plates elsewhere. The reason is that the cooker circuit's not protected by an RCD.
5) The supply voltage isn't the same as the UK. It's all to European standards and always has been. You'll find your supply voltage sits at 220-230V rather than 230-250V as in the UK. The Republic of Ireland standardised on 220/380V 50Hz back in the early part of the 1900s. ESB worked pretty heavily with German suppliers : Siemens and AEG as well as ASEA of Sweden. So, AEG/Siemens standards were used quite heavily.
6) Again, due to the Northern European influence, you'll see a lot of screw-in Diazed fuses in older buildings rather than the UK-style rewirable wylex type.
Under no circumstances install a Wylex standard fuse setup from the UK. ESB will react very oddly and probabally refuse to connect the supply. (I've heard of this happening when a UK guy did DIY work in West Cork)
Other than that, pretty much wire as per the UK. It's well worth reading the ETCI wiring practice handbooks though. There are some substantial differences although, in general most things are quite familiar.
In terms of things like plugs/sockets/boxes/fittings ... everything's pretty much as per the UK.
If you're wiring telephone stuff, the system's more like the US/Canada. RJ11 is used and you need only use 2-wires between the eircom NTU (master socket) and the other extensions.
UK phones need to be connected using an adaptor that contains a ring-capacitor. You'll pick these up at any Irish branch of Argos and most DIY stores for a couple of quid. (also beware of weird BT pin assignments on RJ11 sockets... the line in Ireland (as per the normal RJ11 setup) is presented on the centre two pins.
Caller ID is also different - same as France/Germany .. MOST, but not all UK phones will understand it. Almost all US/Canadian phones have no problem whatsoever with it though.
Cable systems distribute analogue tv channels (usually up to about >16 free-to-air) on VHF, UHF and "hyperband". If you've an Irish tv, just bung the cable into the back of it and you'll have a range of channels in NICAM stereo.
RTE/TV3 and TG4 are broadcast in UHF in most places, although some hillier areas still carry RTE1/2 on VHF with Nicam stereo etc etc.
Digital TV is exclusively provided by cable operators NTL (no longer anything to do with UK NTL and Chorus ... soon to merge into UPC Ireland. This is available on Cable and using MMDS (multipoint microwave distribution system) i.e. via a small antenna on your roof.
Other than that, Sky Digital Ireland. Same as the UK line up except with Irish ads on the sky channels + RTE 1, 2, TV3 and TG4 in the 101,102,103 and 104 slots.. BBC NI is carried elsewhere in the EPG and ITV is manually tunable in.
The Irish regs are well worth a read anyway if you want to do things right and to code. Bare in mind, if you can't prove they were to code and your house burns down your insurance company can refuse to pay up!
Also, if major work is done the ESB may require a completion certificate.
It's also possible your house was built by 1960s cowboy builders / has suffered a series of horrendous DIY jobs.
I'd suggest ripping everything out and starting from scratch. It sounds like a right mess!
[This message has been edited by djk (edited 03-26-2006).]