Your All in One Guide on Moving to Ireland

Moving To Ireland

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. This is all a product of the years of work both sides have put in, after the agreement has been signed on The Good Friday 1998.

As a British expat moving to Ireland you will enjoy the same benefits which you would have in your own birthplace. This also goes for Irish expats moving to the UK.

Table of Contents:

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, nor travelling 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.

We have already mentioned it, but it is so good we will do it again. You even have the same social benefits in Ireland as those you do in England. The agreement from “The Good Friday” is dated far before the EU was even a factor. This means that even after Brexit, you should still have those perks.

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:

Ashfold Castle

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.

Blarney Castle

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!

Carrick Fergus Castle

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.

Kilkenny Castle

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 with 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 – 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”

Dark Brew Guinness

depositphotos / By Foto-VDW

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 which is to your “taste” and go with it. You shouldn’t miss the opportunity.

Visit Winter Solstice at Newgrange, Co Meath

Newgrange Solstice in Ireland

depositphotos / By maximkabb

This is a 5 000 years 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. But don’t get your hopes up. Moving to Ireland doesn’t mean you get bigger chances to watch that sunrise from inside the tomb.

Go For an Adventure

Cliffs on Irish Coast

depositphotos / By Patryk_Kosmider

Ireland is pushing to become the Island of adventures. A lot of extreme sports are being popularised more and more. The Irish nature is beautiful and suitable for various outdoors 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, adrenalin junkies. 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.

Ireland Visa Requirements for Brits

Visa for Ireland

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 need to apply for a residence permit.

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

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

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

You can apply for a visa online. Or if you are currently in Ireland with a C class visa, you can go ahead and apply for a re-entry one. The application for a single entry visa is €60/£54 and for a “multi-journey visa” €100/£90.

“For a re-entry visa you can apply in person, or by filling an online form from INIS.”

You need to apply at least 8 weeks before the date on which you plan to travel to Ireland.

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

Citizen of these countries, don’t need Irish Visa

Andorra Guatemala Poland
Antigua & Barbuda Guyana Portugal
Argentina Honduras Romania
Australia Hong Kong Saint Kitts & Nevis
Austria Hungary Saint Lucia
Bahamas Iceland Saint Vincent & the Grenadines
Barbados Israel Samoa
Belgium Italy San Marino
Belize Japan Seychelles
Bolivia Kiribati Singapore
Botswana Latvia Slovak Republic
Brazil Lesotho Slovenia
Brunei Liechtenstein Solomon Islands
Bulgaria Lithuania South Africa
Canada Luxembourg South Korea
Chile Macau Spain
Costa Rica Swaziland Croatia
Malaysia Sweden Cyprus
Maldives Switzerland Czech Republic
Malta Taiwan Denmark
Tonga Dominica Mexico
Trinidad & Tobago El Salvador Monaco
Tuvalu Estonia Nauru
United Kingdom Fiji Netherlands
United States of America Finland New Zealand
Uruguay France Nicaragua
Vanuatu Germany Norway
Vatican City Greece Panama
Grenada Paraguay

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
Interesting Fact: Filed applications for Irish passports from The UK were around 70% more than the same period last year. The applications from Northern Ireland almost doubled.

It is very important for you to apply for a Personal Public Service (PPS) number as soon as possible. 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. You’ll need to make a registration.

Way of Life in Ireland

Living in Ireland

depositphotos / By arturdebat1984

As 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 the life in Dublin. Others will gladly go to Cork, a county with a higher percentage of 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 the, 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 believes 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”. Its describes an event when a group of friends and neighbour 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 for 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.

Fun Fact: The UK government suggests 14 units of alcohol per week for men. The Irish government recommends 21 units per week.

Cost of Living in Ireland

Pot of Gold for Living Expenses in Ireland

depositphotos / By IgorVetushko

Accommodation

We have to start with the cost of property and rent in Ireland. Having a place of your own is the first thing you need to figure out. Living in hotels is definitely not cost effective. Buying is probably your best shot, but how much money do you need in your bank account to pull it off.

If you are up for buying a house in Ireland you should check the article from “The Journal” on the average price of a house, according to regions. You can see that it highly depends on the region you choose to live in. The prices of property in Ireland reached their lowest point back in 2013. If you have a relative that acquired a mansion back then, you are lucky. Ever since 2013, that price is steady climbing so the sooner you buy a home the better, right.

2013. If you have a relative that acquired a mansion back then, you are lucky. Ever since 2013, that price is steady climbing so the sooner you buy a home the better, right.

Rental Price in Ireland

Cost of rents once again depends on your preferred location. And to no surprise, when the value of a property rises, rent rises as well… There is a roughly 11% rise in rent cost in Ireland. In areas with higher demands, you may even pay a bit extra on top of the asked price.

This is a problem that is yet to be resolved, but results in a slight increase of cost of living in Ireland. If your rent jumps with 10%, a sum you spend each month, it no doubt will have an impact on the family budget. Rents reached an average of €1,227(£1137.88). The Association of Property Owners claim that there is just too many taxes being paid by landlords, and that is the reason for them to push up the prices.

Paying Utility Bills in Ireland

Once you have 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 to most urban areas, still not everywhere.

Gas and Electricity Suppliers

  • 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
  • PINERGY

The price you will have to pay for your electric bill will depend on your consumption in “kWh”. The cost of 1 kWh is €0.24 (£0.21).
 

Type of Property Consumption (kWh) Annual Bill (€/£) Monthly Bill (€/£)
2 Bed Apartment 2500 €720 / £642 €60 / £54
2 Bed Semi 3000 €792 / £706 €66 / £59
3/4 Bed Semi 4000 €970 / £865 €81 / £72

 

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 became 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 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 “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 very much depends on personal habits and other factors, so we won’t make vain prognosis 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, 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 (£36-£45)a month.

Providers:

  • Virgin Media
  • Sky
  • Vodafone
  • Three Ireland
  • Onwave

British Communities in Ireland

Considering the fact that Ireland is the second country of choice for the UK expats, it would be a surprise if you can’t find British communities. There are regions of Ireland in which you will wonder, whether you have taken a wrong turn and have gone right back.

Cork, for example, has a pretty high concentration of Brits. There are also people of other nationalities. The locals explain that with a story about the Cold War. They say, that everybody got so scared of a nuclear warfare, that they took out a map and searched a place as far as possible – West Cork.

The second biggest British community is in Dublin. The capital of Ireland is a very well connected city. It has a transportation link with the USA, Europe, and The UK. Every part of Ireland you might wish to visit is no more than a couple of hours away. Dublin is home to lots of foreign investors that have set headquarters of their companies here. So the job market in the capital is in a good state.

Overall it won’t be hard for you to find other British expats, even if you are not looking at all.

Interesting Fact: There are more Ireland born people living in The UK than UK born people living in Ireland according to Independent.ie

Jobs Economy in Ireland

Job Market 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 a 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!

The minimum you get from working in Ireland is €9.55/£8.55 per hour. This is the pay rate agreed upon on 1st of January 2018. Note, that if you are younger than 20 years and with no experience whatsoever, you won’t get €9.55 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.

Irish Healthcare

Healthcare in Ireland

depositphotos / By Alexis84

Ireland has a well-established healthcare system that is funded by the government. NHS Ireland stands for National Healthcare Service. It is created in order to provide healthcare for residents of The UK based on their needs, not their ability to pay. In Ireland, there is also an NHS service provided.

If you live and work in Ireland for more than a year, you are eligible to 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 NHS.ie website. You will need to register first.

HSE Category 2: People without medical cards that still can benefit from some medical services and medicine free or at a lower price. There is a list of surgeries and medication that 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.

Bringing Kids to Ireland

You can travel to Ireland with kids with no problems if you are a citizen of a country, member of 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 of 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 than 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

Irish Kindergarten and Expat Kids

depositphotos / By poznyakov

You can enrol your kid in the Early Child Care and Educations (ECCE) from the age of 2 years 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

Irish Schools and Expat Kids

depositphotos / By alebloshka

Ireland is an English-speaking country in its majority. Your kids will probably be able to continue their education right away, because of the lack of language barrier.

There is a decent chance to find 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.

If your child starts its path towards a diploma in Ireland it will have to study Irish, if you have 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 if free. For the primary and secondary schools, there is no billing, however, there are “voluntary contributions” which lots of schools take from the parents. They say that the money from the government is just not enough and ask for the contributions from parents in order to keep the state of the school. Which is a bit like ransom, because what if parents stop paying? The school will close doors, or the education level will drop?!

Anyways, you should not live in a dream that your kids will be “all sorted”, 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

Kids in Irish Bars

depositphotos / By Hackman

Have some time left from working and going to school and so on? Maybe you would like a couple of tips on places to take kids in Ireland?

There are a number of zoos. One of those zoos is located in Phoenix Park. The park with the highest walls. The Dublin Zoo is one of the most visited locations in the city. You can have a nice walk in the park, see the animals and just relax a bit.

Take a Viking Splash tour of Dublin. It is basically a drive around the city with an amphibian from the WWII. It goes on main roads around key buildings and historical places. It also takes on a “Splash” in water. Much like the amphibia tour of London. The guide, in this case, is a “Viking” which will explain to the kids the values of the visited places in an interactive manner.

If Vikings don’t work well with your kids, knights will surely do. Go and visit some of the castles listed above. Give the toddler a plastic sword and helmet and let its imagination run wild in the historical spot that you have picked for your tour.

After spending all that energy walking in the Phoenix Park and touring with the Vikings, you might want to recharge. Why don’t you make your dream come true and visit The Chocolate Warehouse? You will have the opportunity to learn more about the chocolate. See where it comes from, 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 truth is that Ireland is a very well organised destination for families with kids. You will always have what to do There are sidewalks everywhere, ramps for the baby strollers and many kid-friendly places. The people are also super friendly and are always trying to help out people with kids. Small things like helping carry the stroller, letting you ahead in line and etc.

The rules are actually so kid-friendly that it is a bit out of hand. Do you know that kids are allowed in Irish Pubs? Yes! 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 children in pubs are not something uncommon. 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 past 9 pm you can go right in and order a Guinness, no questions asked. There is often a band in the pub, playing more traditional Irish tunes, that could be very entertaining for your kid.

Driving Licence – Your UK driving licence in Ireland

Driving in Ireland and Driving Licence

depositphotos / By JJFarquitectos

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

If you ever get caught without a driving license you will most likely get a pass. It is socially acceptable to drive with no documents on you. The Guards (local Police) often let people go, if they are not carrying a license or skipped taxes and MOT (NCT). You just need to prove your attention to fix the situation in near future. This is somewhat useful, if you are truly caught red-handed and you just forgot about paying your tax or left your wallet by accident, that’s OK. But it creates a misconception that people can misuse and abuse the kindness of the Guard.

Ireland After Brexit

There is a conversation going around about what will actually happen with Ireland and The UK after Brexit. Because the matter is, indeed a bit tricky.

It seems that European diplomats may have adopted the old saying that England’s difficulty is Ireland’s opportunity. They were pushing for Northern Ireland to rejoin the EU after Brexit. That is possible if there is a vote for reunification in Ireland. Much like the one in The UK for Brexit in the first place.

Such doings, however, may controvert with frameworks provided in the Good Friday Agreement, and the EU officials are very aware of the possibility and promise to keep negotiations within its lines. If half of Ireland is in the EU and the other half is not there has to be a border between them. Not just a line, a border with a fence and man on it, which on its own comes in a straight confrontation with the Good Friday Agreement.

Britain will leave the EU in March 2019, if everything goes well. The former UK Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland had openly shared that he is now an Irish citizen. He became one, in order to keep his freedom for travel, after the Brexit. Which may turn out to be a smart move. Apparently, a lot of people think so. The applications for an Irish passport skyrocketed after Brexit. There were almost 800,000 Irish passports issued in 2017. Considering that Britain is one of the few countries that support dual citizenship, applying for an Irish passport just can’t hurt.

There is not much for us to do right now than wait and believe that our officials will come up with an agreement suitable for all, that will avoid unwanted confrontations.

Image header source: Deposit Photos/ Author: gustavofrazao

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