Though Ireland is a small country, it is a beautiful one. A hugely popular destination for expatriates and companies from all over the world, the lively social atmosphere and gorgeous landscapes are hard to deny. Quality of life in Ireland is a huge pull factor for people from over 200 countries around the world. Relocating to another country can be a complicated decision, which is why we have put together 15 things to know before moving to Ireland.
For more detailed information on the process of moving to Ireland, check out the GMS guide to moving to Ireland, with tips on everything from visas to moving with pets.
1. Cost of Living
People moving to Ireland from Britain might be surprised to learn that the cost of living in Ireland is high – even higher than in the UK. It is one of the most expensive places to live in the European Union so you should prepare for this before moving to Ireland. This applies to renting accommodation, consumer prices, and even buying groceries. As Ireland’s capital, Dublin is the most expensive place to live in the country, with prices becoming lower if you venture to other smaller cities and the countryside.
Are you concerned about your finances when moving abroad? Our blog has everything you need to know about moving abroad with your finances.
2. The Irish Language
While English is the main spoken language in Ireland, this does not mean there is no Irish language in existence. Not many people speak Irish fluently but there is more of a push for it to be taught in schools again. Despite this, many public places, like street names and road signs, will be written in both English and Irish. Journeys on public transport could become difficult if you struggle to identify or learn the Irish names for cities or towns so this is definitely one of the most important things to know before moving to Ireland.
3. Local Slang
Another thing to remember is that not everyone speaks English in the same way. When you move to Ireland, there will be phrases and words that are completely alien to you and your British friends. It’s important to brush up before relocating, and in day-to-day life you should keep your ears peeled for learning opportunities. This will make acclimatising to your new environment much easier.
4. Buying or Renting property
It is hugely common that expats from all over the world choose to rent rather than buy property in Ireland. Many Irish families and couples will purchase houses or apartments, however, for foreigners this can become a hugely difficult task. There are restrictions on land for foreigners buying in Ireland and the bureaucracy involved means that renting accommodation is popular among expatriates.
5. Befriending the locals
While Irish people are some of the most friendly in the world, many people moving to Ireland can have a difficult time meeting and hanging out with locals. As reserved people, it can be difficult to arrange a meeting in the near future. In addition, Irish people tend to run on their own time. If they show up late to a meal or a party, don’t take it personally. Running into acquaintances and going to a cafe or for a drink might be the best way to get to know them.
6. Irish people love tea
It might be stereotypical that Britons drink the most tea but the Irish are no different. You will find no shortage of tea and tea drinkers in Ireland. In fact, Ireland is second only to Turkey in the amount of tea consumed each year.
Another thing to note about locals in Ireland is that alcohol is a huge part of life, particularly social life. Pubs are an excellent place to get to know people and form strong friendships, but this doesn’t mean you need to get drunk every night. Pubs are meant for socialising as much as they are for drinking, so you should take advantage of this when you can. Buying rounds is commonly done so you should make sure to buy your round and accept drinks from your friends and colleagues.
For people moving to Ireland from the UK, the healthcare system will appear familiar to the system in place back home. The National Healthcare System is well equipped with modern equipment and skilled staff, however, shortages in funds can lead to delays in A&E response times and GP appointments. Just under half of the population opt for private healthcare for faster response times and a higher level of care, however, this can become expensive. You should do your research before deciding which healthcare option to choose in Ireland.
9. Public Transport
People who live in Ireland’s large cities often rely on public transport for work and for leisure travel. Buses, though in fairly good condition, can become delayed in traffic as in any large city, but the inner-city rail line offers affordable and regular travel. Transport between cities is offered by buses and trains and timetables are readily available at stations or online. However, one of the things to know before moving to Ireland is that rural areas often lack regular transport connections, so you will likely require a private vehicle to get around.
10. Location Location Location
Comparisons between Dublin and more rural areas of the country do not end with public transport links. Disparities here could be due to around a third of the Irish population living in Dublin. Younger people often choose to move away from their rural hometowns to move to big cities like Dublin. In the capital, there is great nightlife, lots of things to do, and plenty of accessible amenities. The further away you choose to live from large cities like Dublin, while the cost of living may decrease, opportunities for work and socialising will decrease.
11. Quality of Life
Moving to Ireland can be a daunting thought but many expatriates who have already taken the plunge say it’s worth it. The quality of life in Ireland is generally excellent – in 2019, the annual Human Development Index Ranking listed Ireland to have the 3rd highest quality of life in the world. The higher cost of living is balanced with the high quality healthcare, education system, security, work-life balance and more.
12. Diversity and Culture
Between the culture of the local population and the added elements from the largely international population, Ireland is a fascinating place to live. Irish nationals were reported to come from exactly 200 countries in the 2016 census. Festivals and celebrations of all cultures can be found year round, so there is never a dull moment.
13. Ireland’s History with Britain
Though no history test is required for people from Britain moving to Ireland, it’s important to be aware of the past relationship between Ireland and England. The past is behind us and the two modern countries have a close relationship. Even so, it’s vital that you are aware of the difficult past so that you can avoid offending locals with your words or actions.
While the weather in the UK can often be miserable, you should prepare yourself for even worse when you are moving to Ireland. Temperatures can drop and the heavens can open in a moment’s notice, meaning you must always be prepared for the worst when you are out and about. Pack plenty of waterproofs and umbrellas before relocating.
Like in any country, there are areas of Ireland with slightly higher rates of crime. However, generally, Ireland is an extremely safe country for locals and foreigners. You should take regular precautions in busy places and at night, however, violent crime is low. You may notice a reduced presence of police officers and in rural areas, response times can vary, but life in Ireland is generally very safe.
If you’re looking to move somewhere within the UK instead, check out our top 10 places to live in the UK.