Moving to Ireland- what you need to know

29 06 2008

I recently met two girls who had moved to Ireland from the States. They were under the misguided impression that Ireland would be cheaper than heading to the UK. This has spurred me to put together some random information that might be of interest to others who are contemplating a move to Ireland.

First the basics…

  • In Ireland the spoken language is English. Irish (or Gaelic as it’s also known) is spoken in some areas known as Gaeltacht’s and learned by all children in school.
  • The currency is the Euro. One Euro (€1) is equal to 1.57860 US Dollars or 0.79183 GB Pounds. Check out for currency conversions.
  • The country is broken up into “counties” similar to the division of states in America. There are 26 counties in Ireland. There are a further 6 counties in Northern Ireland (part of the United Kingdom).
  • The capital city is Dublin. Cork is the largest county.

Cost of living:

  • Ireland is one of the most expensive countries to live in in Europe and Dublin is the 16th most expensive city to live in in the World.
  • Rent: Expect to pay anywhere between €950 and €1500 per month for a one bed apartment in Dublin. This price falls outside of the capital. Click here for an overview of average rents in Ireland.
  • There are several supermarket chains- Dunnes and Tesco (average prices); Superquinn and Marks & Spencers (more expensive); Lidl and Aldi (budget shopping).
  • Litre of milk: About €1.45…depending on where you buy and whether low fat, etc
  • A music CD: About €15.99. You can of course order cd’s and dvd’s cheaper online from sites such as CD Wow or Amazon.
  • Bread: Average €1.24 to €1.64 for white bread.
  • Newspaper: €1.60
  • Coffee: Around €2.75 for a grande Americano
  • Pint of Heineken: Around €5 in Dublin.
  • City bus ticket: €1.10 minimum fare in Dublin
  • Bar of chocolate: Around 65 cents

How to find a place to live:

  • There are listings of accommodation to rent/buy in the various national/local papers. The majority of people use Daft to find a place to live. If you’re considering a move to Ireland then that site would allow you to check out prices and available properties in your selected area and make contact with landlords in advance.
  • When you find a property you like you will need to present references i.e. proof of employment, references from previous landlords, etc. You will also need to pay a deposit (usually one months rent) and also pay one months rent in advance.
  • As with any country in the World there are parts of every city in Ireland that are less favourable than others. I’d recommend visiting any area you plan to live in both the daytime and night time to get an idea of the locality.

Finding a job:

  • Ireland is in the midst of an economic downturn thus many companies have put recruitment freezes in place.
  • Check out job sites such as Irish Jobs, Monster or Recruit Ireland.
  • Your CV shouldn’t be more than 2 A4 pages. The job sites above all have examples.
  • Minimum wage is Ireland is €8.65 per hour.

Making friends:

  • A cliche though it is…Irish people love to go their local pub (a bar). Pop into your local and strike up conversation. There is a smoking ban in Ireland in places of work i.e. pubs, restaurants, etc.
  • Join a sports team if you’re that way inclined. The most popular sports are soccer (or football), Gaelic football, hurling, rugby and tag rugby. All towns have their own teams, both men’s and women’s (and in the case of tag rugby- mixed teams also). If you check out the local paper there will usually be information on the local team.
  • Mingle with people at work- when you start at your new job ask a few people to come for a pint on a Friday evening.
  • There are lots of networking groups for business people. Hit google and some will pop up for your area.

The Gay scene:

  • Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Galway all have a gay scene of note, but of varying sizes (that’s not to say there isn’t a scene in other counties). To find out about local events on the scene or to make some friends, check out Gaire (Ireland’s largest gay forum) or QueerID. You’ll find links there to sites in other counties where you’ll find out about events. clubs, etc.
  • Jump in at the deep end…go along to one of Gaire’s regular “meets”. If you’re a newbie someone will usually meet you before the meet so you don’t have to go on alone.
  • In Dublin the main gay bars are The Front Lounge, The George and The Dragon. Because the scene is quite small, if you’re brave enough and try and get out there and meet people, you could make friends quite quickly.
  • There are no all girl bars but there is a monthly lesbian night- KISS. Check out the sites to find out what’s on each weekend. Outhouse has a “womens night” on a Thursday evening where you can meet other people looking to make new friends.
  • There are various gay groups and teams. There is a lesbian soccer team- The Phoenix Tigers– which welcomes new members and you don’t have to have played soccer before. The Dublin Devils are the male equivalent. You can see listings for all sports teams and social groups on QueerID.

Hope that info helps any of you considering a move to Ireland. Any questions just drop me a comment.

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Ireland not ready for Gay Marriage

27 06 2008

In a radio interview this morning on Newstalk’s Breakfast Show, a Fianna Fail Senator (name escapes me now) stated that she supported the proposed Bill on Civil Partnership which would give equal rights to gay couples in terms of inheritance tax, taxation, etc. However she stated emphatically that she did not support gay marriage because Ireland wasn’t ready for gay marriage. (!)!)!)

This comes off the back of a report in today’s Irish Times which reveals that a group of Fianna Fail TDs and Senators put forward a motion demanding nothing should be included in the Bill which would in any way lessen the “special status” enjoyed by heterosexual marriage under the Constitution. Apparently 30 individuals have signed this motion which is being spearheaded by Senator Jim Walsh. In typical cowardly worm fashion the Senator was “did not return calls from the Times last night”. Too busy out sharpening his pitchfork. Cretin.

This almost put me off my morning coffee….My problems:

  1. If Ireland “isn’t ready” for gay marriage what facts do they have to support this. The majority of our EU counterparts have had civil partnership laws for gay couples for years now. We are behind the times already. How long more must we wait and who decides when we’re ready…Fianna Fail? It’s attitudes like this that gives people outside Ireland the perception that we are all going around saying “top of the morning to ya laddy” and leaving our thatched cottages via horse and cart in the mornings for a hard day toiling in the fields. The Irish Government should be focusing on getting Ireland out of recession mode rather that wasting resources debating and delaying a Bill which should have been passed years ago.
  2. If there is any debate around this issue it should be why doesn’t Ireland take a leading stance in Europe on this issue as it did with the Smoking Ban and move to give same sex couples TRULY equal rights and bring in same sex marriage…no doubt Senator Walsh would burst a vessel at the thoughts of such folly!
  3. It’s a miracle I got to work unscathed this morning as I was blinded from the light emitted from the halo’s of all the heterosexuals with “special status”. Could a more derogatory phrase have been used? I don’t think so. This demotes same-sex couples to a standing below the general populous and thus is a deeply prejudiced remark. Where are all the other politicians. Why has no-one spoken out against such comments. Surely it would be an ideal opportunity for Opposition Parties to earn some brownie points?

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Civil Partnership Bill Outline Unveiled in Ireland

24 06 2008

Same sex couples in Ireland have been waiting years for action from the Government on legislation in relation to civil partnerships. The first hint at positive action came today when the Government today approved the Heads of a Civil Partnership bill which, according to Dermot Ahern (Justice Minister) shows that the Government recognises the ‘‘many forms of relationships in modern society”. The Bill provides “for Civil Partnership Registration for same-sex couples, it will also provide certainty as to the status of cohabitation agreements, and a legal safety-net to people living in long term relationships who may otherwise be very vulnerable at the end of a relationship, whether through break-up or through bereavement.”

Driven by Senator David Norris (the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in Ireland), this Bill has been stalled since 2005. At that time the Government was criticised for attempting to kick the Civil Partnership Bill to the curb. They moved at a late stage to publish an ammendemnt to the Bill, thus grinding the process to a near halt. Senator Sheila Terry of the Fine Gael party stated that “It was clear that the Government wanted to stymie debate and delay the move towards equality.”

The Irish Government have been painfully slow to act on this issue leaving Ireland trailing the rest of Europe in terms of rights of legally recognising the relationships of same-sex couples. Other counties have had civil partnership legislation with several years, for example France (since 1999), Germany (since 2001) and even our nearest neighbour, the UK (since 2005). Despite the fact that this Bill is a step in the right direction it cannot be considered “equality” as under this bill same-sex couples won’t have the full right to marry due to the fact such rights “wouldn’t pass muster” under the Constitution according to Ahern.

The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) welcomed the Bill but highlighted the fact that it does not provide legal protection for same-sex couples and their children. In a press release today Kieran Rose of GLEN stated “The proposals in the Heads of Bill however, do not provide for legal recognition of the many same-sex couples, particularly women, who are parenting children together, leaving these parents and their children outside the protection of the State”

This “Heads of Bill” is essentially an outline of what the government proposes to bring forward and in the coming months the Government will engage in consultation with other groups on this issue. It is hoped that a bill will go through the Dail (the Irish parliament) later this year.

Progress…but the wheels of Government are turning as if powered by a geriatric homophobic hamster.

Is commitment the new aphrodisiac?

24 06 2008

Gay, straight- everyone has got the commitment bug and all are hoisting up their white dresses (or suits as the case may be), and legging it full throttle to the altar. I was chatting to a friend last night and realised that, from a quick review of our circle of friends, three people under 25 years old have gotten engaged in the past two months. I am a firm believer in the fact that the only reason you should run to a church is if you’re being chased by a pack of angry villager complete with pitch forks and are seeking refuge! However it seems like I’m in the minority here.

The most recent statistics from Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO) reveal that the number of marriages has been increasing steadily. In 1996 16,174 people tied the noose knot. This figure had risen to 21,841 in 2006. Of course these figures can be linked to an increase in the population over the same period but I wonder what other factors are having an effect here?

I doubt it’s coincidence that the marriage rate has increased since 1996. The year before, in 1995, there was a referendum on divorce in Ireland and divorce was finally introduced in the State in 1997. There seems to have been a shift in attitudes relating to marriage since- Older singletons are waving their hands in the air like they just don’t care, shouting from the rooftops that being single is fabulous and that marriage stifles the spirit. Meanwhile a growing number of young people- who you’d expect to be dating, shagging and having fun, damn the consequences and don’t mention the C word (commitment) – are actually looking to settle down earlier. Perhaps people see the “marry them and drop them” trend that’s taken hold in the world of celebrity and view marriage as being without consequence?

Wedding cartoon....happy ever after???

The number of divorced persons in Ireland increased from 35,100 to 59,500 between 2002 and 2006, an increase of 69.8 per cent, making it the fastest growing marital status category. The number of separated persons increased from 98,800 to 107,300 over the same period – up 8.6 per cent.

So for the youth of today marriage appears to no longer be a scary word and commitment no longer brings spotty youths out in a cold sweat… Having problems in your relationship? Sex life a bit drab? Want to spice things up? Can’t figure out how to unlock your girlfriend’s chastity belt? Mmm….get married…sure if it doesn’t work out we can just ‘pull a Barrymore’! And how will we plan our wedding? Pick up a copy of Ok! Magazine and take tips from Colleen McLoughlin and Wayne Rooney or grab People and take wise counsel from Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon…or not!

Bomb Scare at Dublin Gay Pride Festival

23 06 2008

So Dublin’s Annual Gay Pride Festival is all over bar some queens crying. What a pride festival it was too- a wondrous mix of fabulousness and drama diluted only by torrential downpours on Saturday.

The place to be on Friday night, if you are fighting in the Ellen DeGeneres corner was at the horrendously named “Dyke Night” (hate that word). It was a well handled by the event organisers with newbies to the Dublin scene invited to meet “Pride Volunteers” beforehand. There was a great vibe in the club and it was quickly evident that nothing gets a few hundred lesbians riled up like a pole-dancer and the Backstreet Boys….Ok so the pole-dancers are obvious, but the Backstreet Boys???

They were in fact the Dykes of Hazard…A group of students from DIT who began by miming a Backstreet Boys song for a laugh. These girls were without doubt a highlight of the night. They’ve perfected the BS Boys moves i.e. obligatory crotch grabbing, donned faux facial hair and baggy shirts and have now become a hit on the scene.

Unfortunately Saturday brought with it hangovers of monumental proportions. Just as we were contemplating heading to the parade, we realised that it was bucketing down rain. A pity for the organisers of the festival as attendance at the parade was significantly reduced.

On the Saturday night a group of us made our way to the Front Lounge. I was no sooner in the door when a guy gave me a sloppy kiss on the cheek and wished me “happy Pride”….a clear signal it would be a good night. However across town a few hundred revelers were given a sobering jolt when the George club was evacuated due to a bomb threat.

I realise there is probably a hoard of people hoping Delta Goodrem, who was on stage at the time, was at least maimed in this incident, however it was just a hoax. The club was emptied for 90 minutes and searched and the street blocked off as a precaution. So what about all the people “priding it up Dublin style”? Well to show that you can keep a good homo down, a gang of people started limbo dancing under the police tape….I only pray somebody captured this on video! Anyway no bomb was found, all the club goers got free drinks upon re-entry and the party continued. You have to wonder about the petty homophobe that called the threat in though. I hear karma can be a bitch.

Check out the Dykes of Hazard…hilarious..of course this video doesn’t do justice to a live performance with the gals being cheered on by hundreds of rowdy lesbians!