Mail for the Blind. [004]

This may sound like an oxymoron – how can the Blind read their mail? The answer is they can, and some with great proficiency. Louis Braille developed a system consisting of raised dots on a piece of paper. The pattern of the dots can be felt by the reader and interpreted as a letter. Braille was honored on an irish stamp in 2009. (Figure 1).

Depending on their level of vision, there are numerous items that can be used by a person with limited vision to cope in the sighted world. High intensity lights, magnifiers, and television cameras are useful tools. Some of these are the same items used by stamp collectors.

The Irish Post Office (along with many other postal services) offered special rates when shipping mail for the blind. In the days when the Post Office was a ministry, the Eolai An Post 1982 described special rates for mail and a concession on the radio license for the blind:

Packets of up to 7 kilograms ((15.2 lbs) FREE

Licenses for Radio and B&W TV: FREE; Color TV: £18.00.

In earlier days, letters were free, and packets were charged ½d. (Figure 2).