Unless you've been living in a cave for the last couple of months, you'll know that the General Register Office of Northern Ireland (GRONI) will be introducing its new bmd pay-to-view system to its Belfast Search Room next week (full online service a matter of weeks later).
In this transition phase, many of the existing computers in GRONI's Search Room have been upgraded to the new program but they can't be switched to operational mode until Monday 31 March. The remainder are still operating on the old program. Only this remainder – 6 computers – can be used for the rest of this week, which has resulted in significantly fewer spaces than normal being available for booking. This has caused disappointment to some researchers who've grown accustomed to booking at the last minute.
At present, all booking slots have been allocated up to and including Tuesday 1 April, so, if you have an urgent need to visit, it may be worth phoning on 0300 200 7890 so see if there's been a cancellation.
I imagine booking for the new program computers will get a bit lively next week, too!
The computers currently operating on the 'old' program will need to be transitioned from next Monday, so it may be a week or so before the full complement of computers is again available in the Search Room.
Of course, by then the program should be accessible without a need to visit Belfast!
(Thanks to Peter Kenny of Irish Family Ancestry for alerting Irish Genealogy News to the booking issue.)
UPDATE - 31 March 2014: Events have made the above somewhat superfluous. GRONI has launched the new site online today! See blogpost.