Pros and Cons of Moving to Ireland
Ireland is a small country with an enormous amount to offer, not least of which is a rich culture, diverse artistic talent and lively people.
The 'Celtic Tiger', which saw the economy and property market in Ireland boom from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s, took Ireland from one of the EU’s poorer countries to one of the wealthiest. The recession that quickly followed has gripped the nation ever since and has been the focus of debate and criticism from all over the world. While this has affected jobs, the economy and the way people do business, it has not affected the personality and vitality of the country and its people. Ultimately, Ireland has faced countless struggles in its long and sometimes troubled past, and this is another one it is sure to overcome.
While there may be problems with the economy and the property market, the Irish people have much more experience with adapting to such changes. So while there may be some ghost estates and an incredibly tough job market - the people, culture and lifestyle here outweigh many of life’s difficulties.
Accommodation in Ireland
+ PRO: Available for any budget
Ireland has a wide range of accommodation available to suit any budget. Conveniently, most places come furnished, including couches, tables, dressers and usually a new mattress.
- CON: Ghost estates, cheap rent far from transport
During the final years of the ‘Celtic Tiger’, new residential and commercial property began developing all over the country. As the recession came on, the cranes that once littered the skyline were coming down just as quickly as they went up. Now all these townhouses and properties are available, but no one can afford to buy them. Some of these properties have taken on the term 'ghost estates'. So if a price on a house seems a little too good to be true, there might be a reason, so it's important to do research on the area beforehand.
If renting accommodation, expats should take a good look at the proximity of public transport as cheaper rentals tend to be far from public transport.
Culture shock in Ireland
+ PRO: Proximity to Europe
Thanks to its excellent location, Ireland is a perfect launching pad for travelling. Barcelona is two hours away, Rome is three hours, and for a really short hop, the UK is barely 45 minutes away. If looking to visit other cultures, this is a great place to start. After all, it’s also one of the closest European countries to the US.
- CON: The weather
There is a reason the Irish say “You can see every season in a day”; namely, because of Ireland’s size and location in the middle of the Atlantic, which causes frequent variation in weather conditions. It can be sunny, raining or a mixture of both. Although it rarely snows in Ireland, if expats are unprepared the weather can definitely be a shock, so it's important to have warm jackets and umbrellas at hand regardless of the time of year.
Working and doing business in Ireland
+ PRO: Annual leave
By law, all those who work full-time in Ireland are entitled to 20 days of leave. This, believe it or not, is pretty much standard depending on the county. It's not possible to get away with not going on holidays as it’s the law and most employers will also award extra vacation days to long-term employees.
- CON: Financial crisis
The EU has plunged into serious financial woes. Ireland is part of the EU, and therefore can’t escape this. Unemployment is high, redundancies are a common thing in the papers, and job competition is unbelievable. If looking for work in Ireland, be prepared for stiff competition.
Cost of living in Ireland
- CON: Cost of living is high
Everything is in Euros, unemployment is high and the government seems to take more in taxes each year. Naturally, the further one travels from Dublin, the more the cost of living goes down, but this comes at the cost of not being in the country's hub.
Safety in Ireland
+ PRO: Safe with few guns
Ireland is very safe. Guns are illegal unless one owns a farm, and then they can only obtain a gun suitable for a farm. Naturally, some are smuggled in, and shootings do occur every now and then and are hyped up by the media. Compared to the US, though, gun crime is near non-existent and the annual crime statistics released by the Central Statistic’s Office (CSO) backs this up. However, like anywhere, there are bad areas and caution should still be taken.
- CON: Less police
There is not a large visible police presence, and the response times when they’re needed can be slow.
Healthcare in Ireland
+ PRO: Healthcare is accessible
Both private and public healthcare are available in Ireland. The public healthcare system is funded by general taxes. If needing immediate attention it's likely that a subsidised fee depending on age, income, disability etc. will have to be paid, but the cost should nevertheless be minor. Otherwise, if it’s something that can wait, expect to go on a waiting list. There are numerous private healthcare providers, however, where one can pay for services such as private rooms and no waiting lists.
- CON: Waiting lists and A&E delays
The waiting lists for medical procedures can be as long as a few weeks. However, if going to the A&E (ER) for something non-life-threatening, expect a delay. A standard wait in the A&E before being treated is between 10 and 14 hours. This obviously deters a majority of those with serious conditions from going to the A&E and is an ongoing source of debate and frustration in Ireland.
Lifestyle in Ireland
+ PRO: Pubs, pubs and more pubs
Ireland doesn’t mess around when it comes to its pubs. Take a walk through any city here, and there’ll be more pubs per square foot than anything else. Whether in search of a small quiet pub with a handful of patrons, or a full-on standing room only, shout-over-the-noise pub, Ireland has it.
- CON: Not much of a social scene without alcohol
The lifestyle in Ireland has incorporated alcohol into its very core. This is great for those who enjoy a drink, but if not, there’s not really much to accommodate. There are of course sites to see and things to do all over the country that don’t involve alcohol and Ireland is famous for its theatres, music, sites and people. But ultimately, the pub is the number one destination.
Transportation in Ireland
+ PRO: Cheap rental cars and plenty of public transportation
Ireland’s size makes travelling the country very easy. Rental cars are incredibly cheap and buses run all over the country, as do trains. Public transportation in Ireland is heavily relied on. If moving to Ireland, make sure to figure out local train and bus times, as both are readily available.
- CON: Delays and expensive fuel
Ireland is small, and so are its roads. Approximately a third of Ireland's population of a few million lives in Dublin. Expect the usual traffic, and if taking the inner-city rail line, the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transport), prepare for daily delays and stoppages in services (especially during rush hour). Petrol in Ireland is very expensive.
If anything other then rain comes along, like snow, the country spirals into mayhem. Ireland doesn’t generally budget for salt trucks and snow ploughs. The snow gets compacted by the cars, which then becomes ice, and it’s nearly impossible to get anywhere. The DART will sit on the tracks with a full train for an extended period of time if it needs to, or just cancel services altogether. However, everyone is still expected at work, despite there being absolutely no plan in place to deal with this. So delays or not, work isn’t going to have a two-hour delay, or the day off due to extreme conditions. Everyone is still expected to get in and to get home, and all at their own risk. It can be very problematic, dangerous, frustrating and extremely time-consuming.