Folk music, dancing, Saint Patrick’s Day and raised pint glasses. That is what we tend to think of when thinking of Ireland. However, this is the Republic of Ireland, not Northern Ireland. The main difference between the countries, despite the two being only separated by a border, is that the latter still forms part of the United Kingdom. As a result, when in Northern Ireland, you will be in a non-EU zone. On the other hand, Ireland is its own country, and still makes part of the European Union. It has a population of 4.95 million and holds Irish as its mother tongue, although English is spoken throughout the country. When living in Ireland, you are exposed to the rich culture and gorgeous landscapes along with the friendliest people on the planet.
That said, one must mention the weather. Located in the middle of the Atlantic, Ireland’s weather is mainly a rainy and cold one. The wet weather may put some expats off but if you do not mind the weather, Ireland has some of sunny days as well. In short, it can be sunny and rainy throughout a single day. So, if you are keen on moving there, do take an umbrella!
Lifestyle for expats
Ireland has 32 counties belonging to four provinces across Ireland: Leinster, Munster, Connacht and Ulster. Dublin, Ireland’s capital, is the world’s 46th most visited city, 4.986 million tourists per year. Aside from being a city with a rich history, Dublin also offers a great theatre and music scene. The city is not very big so you can easily travel on foot. If you are a lover of the outdoors, you can visit the Howth Cliffs on the North side of the city or go for a short drive to County Wicklow.
On the West side, you will find County Galway. “It is great to come to Ireland, but the craic is to come to Galway,” they say. Take note, the word “craic” means “fun,” but we will go through some language later on. Life in Ireland is full of arts, culture and delicious food, whilst holding a tight relationship to Ireland’s history. Galway is on the harbour, where the River Corrib meets the Atlantic Ocean. Salthill, Claddagh, and Knocknacarra are all great areas to live, whilst still being close to the city centre. Whatever you do in Galway, keep in mind Shop Street, where you will find shops for your every need. That leads to Quay Street, which offers numerous options for a memorable night out.
A pro to living in Ireland is the island’s location, it is very close to other European destinations, making it easy and simple to travel. Besides being just 45 minutes away from the UK, it is just two to three hours away from Spain and Italy.
Travelling from one county to another is fairly easy, given to the island’s size. There are trains and buses which can take you to your desired county for a relatively cheap price. If you prefer driving, but do not own a car, fret not! Car rentals in Ireland are also cheap. However, be sure to check your options beforehand and ensure you are on the right route. You do not want to end up in a wrong county by mistake!
Cost of living
Life in Ireland is not the cheapest, despite it being a forever-moving target. However, the total amount will depend on how smart your decisions are and the lifestyle that you are chasing. Living in Dublin is pretty costly, especially in the heart of the city. Rent can easily go up to over €700 per month whilst apartments outside the city would be rent out for a lesser amount. Alcoholic beverages are also pretty expensive when compared to other countries and dining out could cost around €30 for a good carvery meal.
Websites such as daft.ie and boards.ie are extremely helpful for when it comes to finding an apartment and finding answers to your questions about living in Ireland.
Ireland’s education system is high – and education is compulsory for all children aged between six-sixteen. This is will also apply for any children who move to the country, making them eligible to attend government schools.
To add on, Ireland is home to some of Europe’s best universities, including Trinity College Dublin, National University of Ireland Galway and University College Cork. Student life here is an eventful and rewarding one, offering countless opportunities for its students to grow.
Health insurance costs are around €900 annually, which is a reasonable price when it is spread for the whole 12 months. Ireland’s healthcare is divided into two tiers: the public and the private. The former is fully paid for by the government whereas the latter is paid by the individual. Expats living in Ireland tend to qualify for the free health services. The downside of the public healthcare is the waiting list. Additionally, expats should have a medical card to ensure a free service. For Europeans moving to Ireland, the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) works, and UK residents moving to Ireland can use the GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card), even after Brexit. You will also find pharmacies all over the country, with several ones in the towns and cities.
Take note! If you wear contact lenses, you cannot just buy another pair off the counter, as you might do in your home country, but you will need a prescription for it as well.
English is spoken across all of Ireland but there are certain words and phrases that are typical to the Irish. As already mentioned before, “craic” means “fun”. Put in a sentence, “What’s the craic?” or “That’s some good craic” would mean “Anything good” or “What’s up?” and “That is fun” respectively. Another phrase that could cause some confusion is “yer man” or “yer one”. The phrase simply means that man or that person who is being spoken about, and not specifically your partner! Hence, “Yer one at the corner is good craic,” means “That person at the corner is fun to be around.”
A term most familiar around students is the “sesh,” which often means the Friday session – the Friday night out. If you have started to panic and reconsider your move to Ireland, do not worry. Your Irish friends will still understand you if you say, “Let’s go out this weekend” instead of “Yer up for a good sesh this weekend?” Keeping these words in mind will give you a small advantage when you are there, and you hear these phrases.
Whereas the British and Americans have a different meaning to the word “football,” the Irish have their own meaning. In Ireland, football is Gaelic football, a game played between two teams of 15 players using a ball. Both hands and feet are used to control and pass the ball. You will need to watch a few games to understand but you will get there. Soccer, on the other hand, will refer to European football whereas rugby is called rugby.
Overall, there are a few good pros to moving to Ireland as an expat. If you do not mind the wet weather, Ireland should definitely be at the top of your To-Consider list. It is a great place to start a new life; small yet feels like home. The stereotype about the Irish people being super friendly is true, for the most part, and a stay in Ireland will not only be a good move but will also be good craic!