Moving and Packing Tips

Moving to Ireland from UK: The Ultimate Guide

With natural beauty, rich culture and friendly people, Ireland can offer something to anyone, whether you are a student, a professional, or a retiree who plans to move there and start a new life there.

The Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom have strong economic relations and share a number of benefits between the population of the two countries. As a British expat moving to Ireland, you will enjoy the same benefits you would have in your birthplace. This also goes for Irish expats moving to the UK.

So if you:

  • Are considering moving to Ireland from UK;
  • Want to know more about life in Ireland;
  • Want to be prepared for your relocation.

Then this guide is for you!

Why move to Ireland?

If you are up for an adventure and you want to indulge in a completely new world without having to learn a new language or travel far, Ireland might be your desired destination.

There would be no language barrier for you. People are more or less friendly, and if you are not a “stuck-up brit”, you can blend right in. The British community in RoI is quite large, so if you want, you can always mingle with them and take out from there. You even have the same social benefits in Ireland as in England because of the agreement from “The Good Friday” 1998.

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Necessary documents when moving to Ireland

During the process of relocation to Ireland, you will have to take into consideration a lot of things. However, there are also some mandatory documents that are also required to be completed.

Ireland visa requirements

depositphotos / By rodrigobellizzi

There are basically three types of visas for Ireland

  • Tourist visa
  • Business visa
  • Student visa

Those three are practically divided into two groups. The first of which is “C visa”. It is a visa that allows you to stay for up to three months for work or study, and you can leave and re-enter the state with this visa. The second group is “D visa”, which is for people that plan to stay for more than 3 months. However, if you plan to relocate to Ireland, you must apply for a residence permit.

If you are a citizen of one of the following countries, you will need a “Transit Visa” to even be at an airport on Irish soil:

  • Afghanistan
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Sri Lank
  • Iraq
  • Nigeria
  • Georgia
  • Albania
  • Eritrea
  • Moldova
  • Lebanon
  • Somalia
  • Ghana
  • Cuba
  • Ethiopia
  • Zimbabwe
  • Iran

The cost of applying for a transit visa is €25/£23.

You can apply for a visa online. However, if you are currently in Ireland with a C-class visa, you can request a re-entry one. For a re-entry visa, you can apply in person or by filling in an online form from INIS. But keep in mind that you must submit your application at least 8 weeks before the date on which you plan to travel to Ireland. The application for a single entry visa is €60, and for a multi-journey visa €100.

If you are a resident of any of the following countries, you are not required to have a valid Irish Visa:

Antigua & BarbudaGuyanaPortugal
AustraliaHong KongSaint Kitts & Nevis
AustriaHungarySaint Lucia
BahamasIcelandSaint Vincent & the Grenadines
BelgiumItalySan Marino
BotswanaLatviaSlovak Republic
BruneiLiechtensteinSolomon Islands
BulgariaLithuaniaSouth Africa
CanadaLuxembourgSouth Korea
Costa RicaSwazilandCroatia
MaldivesSwitzerlandCzech Republic
Trinidad & TobagoEl SalvadorMonaco
United KingdomFijiNetherlands
United States of AmericaFinlandNew Zealand
Vatican CityGreecePanama

As a citizen of the UK, you have the right to live in Ireland without any conditions or restrictions!

For the residents of other EEA countries, the Irish visa requirements are:

  • Be engaged in an economic activity
  • Have enough money and insurance that you will not be a burden to the social system
  • Be enrolled as a student
  • Be a relative to someone in the above categories

You need to apply for a Personal Public Service (PPS) number as soon as you move to Ireland. With this number, you can apply for various social benefits. For instance, your kid needs it in order to be enrolled in school and kindergarten. You will need it to apply for a job, as well. You can set up an appointment for PPS online via MyWelfare, but you’ll need to make a registration.

International relocation takes a bit of courage, a good planning and lots of work. We can always help with our various moving services, tailored to your needs.

Driving licence in Ireland

After Brexit, driving in Ireland with a UK license is possible only if you live in England and are in Ireland for a visit. However, if you plan to live in Ireland, you will not be able to drive with your UK driving licence. You may still exchange it for an Irish one if the license is valid or if it has not expired for a period of more than one year since it was issued.

Throughout the exchange process, your license will remain valid, and you will receive a receipt from the National Driver Licence Service as confirmation of the exchange.

If your driving license is issued from any of the countries in the EU/EEA, you can drive in Ireland. You may apply for an exchange, switching your current license with one issued in Ireland. For some job applications, an Irish driving license might be a must-have.

Cost of living in Ireland

depositphotos / By IgorVetushko

The country is ranked as one of the most expensive in Western Europe. Of course, the cost of living in Ireland depends on where you live and similar to other countries, some areas are more expensive than others.

For example, living costs are around 33% higher in Dublin than in Cork and 47% higher in Belfast. So, you should carefully calculate the expenses before moving to Ireland and ensure that you can afford to live there.

How much is rent in Ireland?

The cost of rent depends on your preferred location. And to no surprise, when the property’s value rises, the rent also rises. In areas with higher demands, you may even pay a bit extra on top of the asked price. For example, the monthly rent in Ireland for a one-bedroom flat in the city center is around €1,500, and approximately €2,500 for a three-bedroom apartment.

During the first quarter of 2022, the average rent in Ireland increased to €1,567 per month, which is approximately an 11% rental cost increase from last year. As one of the most expensive cities in the world for 2022, Dublin has experienced the highest growth in rental costs, with a rise to €2,300. However, according to the Association of Property Owners, landlords pay too many taxes, which is why they push up prices.

Paying utility bills in Ireland

Once you have moved to Ireland and found a suitable new home, it is time to set up your utilities. Nothing comes in easily. You have to find a supplier and give them a call in order to get your utilities sorted.

Electricity and gas, bills and providers in Ireland

Let’s start with electricity because it is the main source of energy in Ireland. Gas is available in most urban areas, but still not everywhere.

Gas and electricity suppliers in Ireland:

  • Bord Gáis Energy
  • Electric Ireland
  • Energia
  • SSE Airtricity

They will need your personal details, current meter readings and a Meter Point Reference Number, which your landlord should be able to provide.

There are two more electric energy suppliers, but they are pre-paid:

  • PrePayPower

The price you will have to pay for your electric bill will depend on your consumption in “kWh”. The cost of 1 kWh is 43.27c/kWh (October 2022).

Type of PropertyConsumption (kWh)Annual BillMonthly Bill
2 Bed Apartment2100€1211€101
2 Bed Semi3000€1601€134
3/4 Bed Semi4200€2120€177

Water bills and providers in Ireland

There is only one water provider in Ireland and that is “Irish Water”. Till 2015 residents of Ireland had no bills for domestic water. Since 2015, however, billing for domestic water has become a fact, regardless of the opposition. But in 2016, a law was passed that suspended water billing for 9 months of the year. So from the first of July till the end of March, you would pay nothing for water.

As a tenant or a new owner, you need to register on the “Irish Water” website. You can also see the accurate billings there because there are often changes… Keep track of your previous bills in your account, and you can easily make a rough assumption of your future bill.

Water consumption depends on personal habits and other factors, so we won’t make vain prognoses of your monthly bills.

Internet, TV and phone bills and providers

This is completely up to you. There are tons of different deals available on the market from many providers, as well.

It will probably be best to go for a combined deal, a mobile phone plus broadband 3G/4G. You can spread that via WiFi Hotspot Device “dongle”. That may cut the cost of the bills if you get a good deal on the package.

Keep in mind that cable internet and TV, or ADSL internet, may not be available in rural areas…

The prices for the plans go for around €40-€50 a month.

Mobile service providers:

  • Virgin Media
  • Sky
  • Vodafone
  • Three Ireland
  • Onwave
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Things to consider before moving to Ireland

You should be aware of some important information prior to moving to Ireland with the intention of living and working there as a citizen with equal rights.

Jobs economy in Ireland

depositphotos / By gustavofrazao

The unemployment rate in Ireland is around 6%. This is actually its lowest point in the last decade. When we compare that with the global economic cutback, this percentage is pretty good.

The economics of the Republic of Ireland is slowly rising. The island is getting more and more popular as a tourist destination, as well. This opens an opportunity for more jobs in Northern Ireland and the coast. This sets up domination of the service sector above other industries looking for labourers.

Sectors in which you can search for a job in Ireland:

  • Beverages and brewing
  • Chemicals
  • Medical equipment
  • Food production
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Computer Software

There is a growing need for workers in the IT sector. That is not a surprise, considering the technology giants stationed in Ireland. You can work for brands like “Google”, “Apple”, “Twitter”, “Microsoft” and more!

As of 1 January 2023, the minimum hourly rate for working in Ireland will be €11.30 per hour. Of course, that is just the minimum wage, and it is estimated that around 10% of the working man and women in Ireland are on it. Note that if you are younger than 20 years and have no experience, you won’t get €11.30 per hour.

Is healthcare free in Ireland?

depositphotos / By Alexis84

Irish healthcare has a well-established system that the government funds. The NHS abbreviation stands for National Healthcare Service. It was created to provide healthcare for residents of the UK based on their needs, not their ability to pay.

If you live and work in Ireland for more than a year, you are eligible for healthcare benefits, according to the government. The Irish healthcare system, HSE – Health Service Executive, will help you benefit from that. If you haven’t been living in Ireland for the past year, however, you will have to convince the HSE that you won’t go away again for at least a year in order for them to enlist you as eligible.

The system has two major categories:

HSE Category 1: Posses medical cards. Those medical cards grant them some medical attention and medicine free of charge. You can apply for a medical card on the website. You will need to register first.

HSE Category 2: People without medical cards can still benefit from some medical services and medicine free or at a lower price. There is a list of surgeries and medication you can acquire without a medical card, also on the website of NHS Ireland.

So, even if you are not a citizen of Ireland, as long as you are part of the local workforce and you have lived in the country for more than a year, you can access healthcare in Ireland. Of course, don’t forget to apply in the first place.

Moving to Ireland with kids

You can travel to Ireland with kids with no problems if you are a citizen of a country member of the EU/EEA. Kids that are citizens of counties outside the EU may need to apply for a visa before the move. In recent times, you can travel from the UK to Ireland with kids without the need for a visa for the kid, if you are a UK citizen. This will most likely remain a possibility even after Brexit.

A child can travel with someone different from its parents. Your relative (or friend) will have to carry documentation that he/she can present to the immigration officers.

Those documents would be:

  • A signed letter from the child’s parent(s)/guardian giving consent to travel with a third person, plus his/her contact details
  • A copy of a document identifying the parent/guardian – a copy of the ID from the side with the picture would work
  • Evidence of the parent/guardian relationship with the child – a copy of a birth or adoption certificate or guardianship papers

The kid can also travel with one of the parents or its legal guardian.

In which cases, the following documentation may be needed:

  • A birth/adoption certificate or guardianship papers showing your relationship with the child
  • A marriage/divorce certificate, if you are the child’s parent but have a different surname to the child
  • A death certificate in the case of a deceased parent

Kindergarten for toddlers in Ireland

depositphotos / By poznyakov

You can enrol your kid in Early Child Care and Education (ECCE) from the age of 2 years to 8 months. The cycle starts in September each year and requires a small deposit, which will be returned to you by the end of October.

You won’t be charged for playschool and daycare. If you list your child for any extra hours and activities, then you will have to pay for them according to prices set by the facility.

In order to benefit from the service, you will need to apply for a spot at a local daycare/playschool facility. You will need a copy of the birth certificate or the passport of your child, plus its PPS number.

Schools for kids in Ireland

depositphotos / By alebloshka

Ireland is an English-speaking country in its majority. Your kids will probably be able to continue their education immediately because of the lack of a language barrier. There is a decent chance of finding an international school as well. At least in Dublin, you can find international schools enlisted here.

Kids start school when they turn 6 years old, although some parents enrol them after their 4th year. From there begins the first part of their education. From “Junior and Senior Infants” to first grade, all the way to the end of 6 grade. By that time, your kid will be 12 years old and ready for the second part, Secondary Education in Ireland. To get a diploma in Ireland, your child will need to study Irish.

However, if you arrived in Ireland when your kid was already 11 years old, you can ask for an exception. Otherwise, the Irish language is mandatory.

It is a common myth that education in Ireland is free. For primary and secondary schools, there is no billing. Nevertheless, there are “voluntary contributions” that lots of schools take from the parents. They say that the money from the government is just not enough and ask for contributions from parents in order to keep the state of the school.

So you should prepare yourself for “voluntary contributions”, uniforms, books and school transport expenses. The third level of education, especially when your student is going away from home, is the priciest – netting above 10K per year.

Things to do with kids in Ireland

depositphotos / By Hackman

Ireland is a very well-organised destination for families with kids. There are sidewalks everywhere, ramps for the baby strollers and many kid-friendly places. The people are also super friendly and always trying to help people with kids – small things like helping carry the stroller, letting you be ahead in line, etc. There are a number of things that you can do with your kid, including:

  • Visit a zoo – there are several zoos in Dublin. One of them is located in Phoenix Park, the park with the highest walls, and the Dublin Zoo is one of the most visited spots in the city. You can have a nice walk with your child in the park, see the animals and relax a bit.
  • Take a Viking Splash tour of Dublin – it is basically a drive around the city with an amphibian from WWII. It goes on main roads around key buildings and historical places. Much like the amphibia tour of London, it also takes on a “Splash” in water. The guide, in this case, is a “Viking” who will explain to the kids the values of the visited places in an interactive manner.
  • Visit some of the knights’ castles – give the toddler a plastic sword and helmet, and let its imagination run wild in the historical spot you picked for your tour.
  • Visit the Chocolate Warehouse – you will have the opportunity to learn more about chocolate. See where it comes from and how it is made, and get to know the machines used in its production. After all that learning, you can make and decorate your own candy to enjoy at the end of the tour.

The rules are so kid-friendly that children are even allowed in Irish Pubs. Unaccompanied 15 to 17-year-old kids can stay in pubs from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm on a Sunday (9:00 pm during weekdays). So if you would like to enjoy a drink in a local pub, but your toddler is out with you, don’t even think about it.

If it is not after 9 pm, you can go right in and order a Guinness, no questions asked. Often there is a band in the pub, playing traditional Irish tunes which could be very entertaining for your kids.

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Way of life in Ireland

depositphotos / By arturdebat1984

Like every other piece of land on this planet, it all depends on where, exactly, you will end up living in Ireland. Some people will prefer life in Dublin. Others will gladly go to Cork, a county with a higher percentage of the rural population.

No matter where you go, the people will pretty much be the same. They are conservative and religious. Which could be a bit of a shock at first for a more open-minded person.

Colliding your ideas and vision for the word with them, set-in-stone beliefs of the Catholic Irish might be a painful impact. You just need to look past that and rely on the good sides that such beliefs develop in a person. Kindness, goodness, full-out honesty.

Irish folks are genuine with good hearts and always ready to help. There is an old Gaelic word, “meitheal”. It describes an event when a group of friends and neighbours gather to help you. And good thing they are always helping, because there is no way for you to get by alone, especially in the more rural areas. Local knowledge here is key.

There is no tool that helps you surpass that, like golden pages or anything like that. Only the locals can bring you up to speed with the best handyman or mechanic that will not rob you in broad daylight.

The dynamic of your day depends on you. Just don’t expect other people to keep up with your pace. Things have their own rhythm in Ireland and it is a more relaxed one. This characteristic brings even more charisma to the place. Nothing, and nobody is pushing you to rush anything.

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Things to do in Ireland

There may not be a bunch of things to do in Ireland, but you surely have what to see there!

Visit the castles of Ireland

Ireland has immense amounts of castles built all over its territory. Who does not love castles and the stories behind them? The medieval structures here have their fair amount of history behind each stone laid on their walls.

Let’s list a couple of those which you should not miss out:

depositphotos / By jose1983

Ashford Castle, County Mayo – created by Arthur Guinness out of a castle built in 1228. The structure has had some additions during the different periods and stylistically is pretty rich. It is now a five-star hotel with everything you should expect from a hotel of this rang to have. Spa, restaurants and even its own cinema.

depositphotos / By iluminada57

Blarney Castle, County Cork – Home of the famous Blarney Stone. There is a legend that if you kiss this stone it will give you the gift to persuade everyone into anything with the power of speech. The stone itself is a popular destination for tourists in RoI. However, the 15th-century castle also hides immeasurable wonders in its old cold stone shell. The gardens surrounding the structure could be a great relaxation place for any adventurer. Care not to get lost!

depositphotos / By nahlik

Carrickfergus Castle, County Antrim – One of the oldest castles, established by John de Courcy right after he invaded Ulster in 1177. The castle is the most well-preserved one in Ireland which is impressive, giving the fact that it had been sieged by four different nations.

depositphotos / By MadrugadaVerde

Kilkenny Castle, Kilkenny City – One of the most visited heritage castles in Ireland. The former stronghold of the Butler family. The castle is famous for its gallery called the “The Long Gallery”. It is a corridor with a stunning wooden ceiling and hand carved marble fireplace. The walls are decorated with the portraits of deserved members of the Butler dynasty.

Slane Castle, County Meath – A family seat for the Conyngham family during the late 19th century. The castle is located in the Slane in the heart of Boyne Valley. *Psst, they also have their own brand of whiskey…

The home of “Guinness”

depositphotos / By Foto-VDW

No matter if you are a “fan” of the glass or pint, you should visit the home of the famous “Guinness” in Dublin. St James’s Gate, Ushers, Dublin 8, Ireland – here is the address, but you can always follow the river of tourists. Believe it or not, that is the most visited location in Dublin.

You can enjoy a pint of “Guinness” in the bar located on-site or visit other bars, like the Gravity Bar, or Kahoes, which are mentioned by local guides as the best places to enjoy your drink. Find a location to your “taste” and go with it. You shouldn’t miss the opportunity!

Visit Winter Solstice at Newgrange, Co Meath

depositphotos / By maximkabb

This is a 5 000-year-old tomb. It is a UNESCO world heritage site whose insides are illuminated by morning sunshine only once per year. It could hold 50 people at a time. Now, here comes the bad news… It is decided by a lottery, who will go in each year, and the candidates listed are netting around 30K. Well, you can still visit the site and just bring a flashlight.

Go on an adventure

depositphotos / By Patryk_Kosmider

Ireland is pushing to become the Island of adventures, and a lot of extreme sports are being popularised more and more. Irish nature is beautiful and suitable for various outdoor activities, such as mountain bike riding, motocross, diving, rock jumping, paragliding, and so on, and so on. The idea is to turn the Island into a desirable destination for tourists and adrenalin junkies.

So if you are a fan of extreme sports, moving to Ireland will offer you a great opportunity to enjoy your favourite hobby. However, there are numerous outdoor activities still suitable for families. They may not bare so many dangers, yet they are still fun. You can read more about the different options you have in this post.

Need help with your move to Ireland?

Hopefully, our guide on moving to Ireland has provided you with useful information which will make the relocation easier. As we all know, moving abroad can be a challenging and time-consuming experience, but you don’t have to do it all alone.

Should you need assistance, you can always rely on our professional removal service or book a storage service and be sure that your belongings will be in good hands.

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  • If you are moving to Ireland from UK you will enjoy the same benefits as you have in your country.
  • As life in Ireland is quite expensive, you should calculate the living expenses before moving there.
  • You will have to exchange your UK driving license after moving to Ireland.

Disclaimer: Every piece of information here is meant for informational and educational purposes only. So please, do not use this as a definitive legal basis. Fantastic Services encourages you to seek authority professional counsel before you decide to act upon what you have read. For more information, check our disclaimer.

Have any insights that you find important for expats in Ireland? Why not share your thoughts with us in the comments below?

Image header source: Deposit Photos/ Author: gustavofrazao

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