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 www.xe.com 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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