As more and more companies continue to choose Dublin as their base in Europe, the employment opportunities continue to rise, which means a lot of expats are flocking to the Irish capital. A word of caution to those looking to make the move to the Emerald Isle, though: the massive influx in recent years means life in Dublin doesn't come cheap. A relatively small city, Dublin has limited space, and the massive demand versus supply is causing housing costs, among other expenses, to skyrocket.

The Mercer Cost of Living Survey for 2020 confirms this, and ranked Dublin as the 46th most expensive city out of the 209 cities surveyed worldwide.

That said, the average salary in Dublin is quite high, which means most expats can afford to enjoy the high quality of life in the city.

Cost of accommodation in Dublin

The cost of accommodation will be any prospective Dubliner’s biggest expense, and they’ll have to budget carefully before deciding where to live. This is largely due to a huge spike in demand in recent years and low availability of housing, which has seen some locals pack up and leave as they simply can't afford it any more. Many young expats who want to live in the city centre are choosing to do house-shares, but even this option comes at a premium.

Prices are somewhat gentler the further from the city centre one searches, but even then, they aren’t cheap. As one would imagine, competition for spaces is stiff, and once expats see something they like and can afford, they should have their documentation and deposits ready in order to snap it up before someone else does.

Cost of transport in Dublin

Dublin is such a compact city that those expats who elect to stay in its city centre may even find that they can get around on foot. Those less keen on walking can make use of the city’s extensive transport network, which includes bus, LUAS, DART and train networks. Using these regularly can become expensive though, so we recommend expats purchase weekly, monthly or even annual passes to bring down costs. Ride-hailing services are also useful, but costs for these can mount up if used regularly.

There's little need to own a car in Dublin, seeing as it’s so small, not to mention the associated headaches of owning a vehicle, such as finding parking, parking costs and traffic congestion.

Cost of education in Dublin

Public education in Dublin, and Ireland in general, is free to all children residing in the country, including expats. And, because of the high standards of education in the city’s public schools, most expats elect to send their children to one of these. Although tuition is free, parents may be expected to pay for things such as uniforms, books, extracurriculars and field trips. 

Tuition for private and international schools in Dublin, on the other hand, can be rather exorbitant. However, should parents want their child to continue the same curriculum of their home country by sending them to an international school, we recommend they negotiate with their employer for a school allowance.

Cost of healthcare in Dublin

Public healthcare in Dublin is free or subsidised. Even so, many expats still choose to use private health facilities, as employers will often subsidise health insurance or even cover it in full. Those who plan to make use of private healthcare in Dublin, should make sure they have the necessary insurance plan in place before moving to the city.

Cost of food and entertainment in Dublin

Depending on one’s lifestyle, food can be mildly expensive to astronomical in Dublin. The price of groceries varies, depending on which store one buys them from, and buying imported goods will of course push up the costs. It’s always best to buy seasonal produce, and to live within one’s means. 

Expats who live a busy social life and like eating out a lot should be prepared to pay a steep price for the pleasure. Dublin pub and restaurant prices have climbed steadily in the last few years, and expats who enjoy a night out on the town should budget carefully.

Cost of living in Dublin chart

These are average costs for Dublin in July 2020. Prices may vary depending on product and service provider.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 3,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

EUR 2,350

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 1,700

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

EUR 1,400

Food and drink

Milk (1 litre)

EUR 1.00

Dozen eggs

EUR 2.90

Loaf of white bread 

EUR 1.46

Rice (1kg)

EUR 1.44

Packet of cigarettes (Marlboro)

EUR 13.50


City centre bus/train fare

EUR 3.00

Taxi rate per km

EUR 1.50

Petrol/gasoline per litre

EUR 1.44

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

EUR 8.50

Coca-Cola (330ml)   

EUR 1.90


EUR 3.30

Bottle of beer

EUR 5.80

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

EUR 60


Internet (uncapped ADSL per month)

EUR 53

Mobile call rate (mobile-to-mobile per minute)

EUR 0.30

Utilities (average per month for standard household)

EUR 150

Expat Health Insurance


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