Tue, 26th Jul, 2022

Learn and understand the electrical wire Colors in Ireland and how to wire a socket.

When setting up an electrical socket, there are rules or guidelines to follow. It may seem easy, especially when carried out by a professional. However, you may set yourself up for a rude shock if done improperly. Incidents like electric shocks, short circuits, and malfunctioning of the socket. 

Knowing the different electrical wires is foundational to understanding how to wire a socket. While this is not a definitive guide, we aim to help you gain theoretical knowledge on Ireland's electrical coloring system, which is live and neutral. Before we you read on, ensure you get advice from a qualified electrician when it comes to electrical work.


Safety First

Before we begin, it is important that you understand safety processes first. Electricity could be dangerous, and direct contact with wires could be fatal if the equipment is turned on.  

Here are a few tips to understand how to protect yourself when installing and wiring a socket. 

  • Use safety gear: gloves and shoes should be essential.
  • Avoid live contact with electricity with your bare hands. 
  • Disconnect any connection before you begin any installation.
  • All tools and materials must be kept a few feet away from the live circuit. 


Electrical Wire Colors in Ireland


The electrical wiring system in Ireland is important to know. Whether for a simple installation like wiring a socket as we'll discuss here or general wiring for a residential apartment, commercial space, or industries (or factories). 

Among the wiring system factors to understand are the types of wiring colors available. 

Here is a simple table to help you know which colors to install. 

Wire Colour
Live Brown
Neutral Blue
Earth Yellow & Green


The live wire (brown) is responsible for transferring power to the appliance. The neutral wire (blue) moves electricity away from the equipment. The earth wiring (sometimes yellow as a standalone or yellow and green together) plays a crucial function. Any excess electricity in or around a property will be redirected into the earth. This poses a safety function, especially when the live or neutral wire is damaged. Together, they form a closed circuit.


Here is a more detailed function for each wire. 


Live (Brown)

As stated, the live wire distributes electricity into the appliance. There is a danger of electrocution if the live wire is active but is not connected to the earth, or at least, the presence of a neutral wire. You must confirm that there is no power in the live before you fix the socket. 


Neutral (Blue)

In Ireland, the neutral wire is blue. It protects the appliance by redirecting power away from it. This wire is mostly located at the tail end of the circuit, covering the entire connection after excess power has flowed into the earth from the live wire. You're unlikely to be electrocuted if in contact with the blue wire. However, it could become excessively hot because of the amount of electricity passing through it into the ground. 


Earth (Green and Yellow)

Before 1977, the earthing wire was only yellow in Ireland and parts of the UK. This important piece of the circuit connects the appliance body to the earth. This means the current carried by live wire can't be transferred into the case. You can't be electrocuted on contact with the earthing wire. However, please take necessary precautions when handling it. 


Tools Needed to Wire a Plug

When you're ready to get started on the socket and a plug, you need a few tools to get to work. They include:

  • A Voltage Tester. Before installing the plug, you need to know how much voltage is passed through. A typical tester has a negative and positive probe. There are two specific voltage testers types: the solid state and the solenoid. Because you need to attach the live and neutral wires to the positive and negative probes, respectively, the solenoid type will deteriorate over time because of its buildup. A solid-state tester does not have this issue.
  • The Digital Multimeter: the digital multimeter allows you to take current readings at different times. It's an accurate way to measure the rate of waveforms at any time. 
  • Pliers: the plier features a pair of rubber sheathed grips with plier teeth fashioned as a cutting blade. You can use it to strip the wires off as you work, stabilising your wires. You can get a balanced cut by putting the wires close to the pivot in the middle of the blades. 
  • Screwdriver: the screwdriver is another important tool used in wiring a plug. You can use it to fix the screws and put the safety brackets in position. Before and after work, it is essential to return it to the safety holster before and after work. 
  • Multi Wire stripper: This tool can distribute your wire into different pieces. The stripper includes a cutting blade, in which there are sharp edges comprised of two jaws. Using this tool, you can cut the wires into different sizes and forms. 


How to Wire a Socket

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to wire a socket:

  • Turn off power from the mains. This is very important since you're at risk of being electrocuted. As much as possible, inform everyone why the mains should be shut down. 
  • Use the screwdriver to remove the socket from the wall. This will give you easy access to the back faceplate to fix the wires.
  • Take the back faceplate, and watch out for which position is where the wire will be affixed. Loosen the screws on each post and fix the wire where appropriate. Don't forget that it is important to fix all the wires firmly. Use the plier to cut off the damaged parts that may cause partial contact. 
  • When you're done, return the faceplate back into the wall position. Use the screwdriver to fix the screws back into position. 
  • Once everything is in place, switch the power from the mains only when safe to do so. 



Electricity can be a source of joy, but it could be dangerous. Fixing a socket could solve many challenges, but you must follow procedures to protect yourself and your appliances. Always best to get an electrician to do the task.