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One a day Live

'At the signal it will be': The Speaking Clock falls silent

In the days before smartphones and 24-hour news on the television, how did people set the correct time on their clocks?

They simply rang 1191 and a voice told them the time.

Believe it or not, the Speaking Clock was set up almost 50 years ago and, until today, it received calls every day.

Eir decided six months ago to discontinue the service as the small number of people using it did not justify the cost of maintaining it.

Callers since then heard a message, saying: "Please note that the speaking clock will no longer be available from Monday, August 27, 2018."

At its prime, the service attracted three million calls a year.

"The Speaking Clock was initially established almost five decades ago and during its peak the service attracted close to three million calls annually," an Eir spokesperson said.

"Technology has moved on and the proliferation of mobile phones and gadgets has caused a steady, predictable decline in the numbers of people using the service.

"Although the 1191 number still receives calls daily, it’s a very small number that does not justify maintaining the system.

[quote]Six months ago we began to let service users know, via the service, that the speaking clock will close, today, Monday, August 27, 2018.[/quote]

If you were to dial 1191 now, no one will answer.